3 min read

ARLC Announces Ground-Breaking Expansion For Women’s Rugby League


The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has today confirmed major changes to the NRLW and Women’s State of Origin, with average wages set to increase by 28%.

The introduction of a salary cap is arguably the most important piece of change, as teams will be allowed to spend up to $350,000 with two marquee spots that will allow for athletes to be employed full-time.

Along with private health insurance for all players, representative match payments will increase from $4,000 to $6,000 for Origin athletes and from $1,600 to $3,000 for All-star representatives.

NRL chief executive, Andrew Abdo said: “Today is an exciting day for the women’s game.”

“We’re expanding to eight teams in 2023 and 10 teams in 2024.

“We’re also introducing a salary cap for next season and creating the opportunity for more players to access full time employment through their club.

“The expansion of the NRLW competition and the introduction of the salary cap will ensure players earn substantially more income from our game.

“We’re experiencing significant growth in television audiences and that’s down to the players and the Commission will continue to invest and support that success.

“Importantly the announcements today are about ensuring a sustainable NRLW competition.

“We’ve always been very clear that we would ensure our playing talent is deep enough and our clubs are prepared before expanding.

“The lead-in time ahead of the next expansion phase will ensure our clubs have the right infrastructure in place and there is even more depth to our playing talent,” Abdo said.

In the announced plan, all current NRL teams will be able to submit an application for a Women’s team, with two additional teams to be added in both 2023 and 2024.

The applications will be reviewed by Abdo and the Commission, with successful teams to be announced in June 2022.

Along with the NRLW expansions, Women’s State of Origin will gain an additional game, making it a two-game series with both fixtures to be broadcasted on free-to-air.

The ARLC has also increased funding and additional support to pathways, in order to ensure the future of the next-generation of stars.

“Today is not just about the elite game, it’s also about building stronger participation and pathways,” Abdo said.

“The Commission is focused on building the women’s game from the bottom up.

“Not just encouraging more participation as players but also more female coaches and female referees.

“Right across the game we will continue to work to create pathways for women regardless of whether they want to play, coach, referee or be an administrator,” he said.

The NRLW has also seen a massive bumper in ratings, with an average of 168,000 fans tuning in across Nine and Fox Sports for round one of the Women’s Premiership.

In comparison, the AFLW averaged 70,000 viewers across Fox Sports and Seven Mate in the same weekend.

This news comes after recent comments from Abdo on the future of the competition, where he said the league is still a few years away from being able to become fully professional.

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