The NRL has announced the inaugural 40 elite female rugby league players based in Australia, who will represent the game as marquee NRL players in 2018.
Each player will have the opportunity to participate in various matches and high-performance training camps, as well as undertaking various ambassador activities to promote the game throughout the season.
Players will also be under the guidance of full-time coaching, medical and high-performance staff throughout the year.
Senior Manager of the NRL Women’s Elite Program, Tiffany Slater said the inaugural list of elite players have a huge opportunity to continue to shape the next chapter of women’s rugby league.
”Women’s rugby league has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time and collectively, we have a long way to go,” Ms Slater said.
”I congratulate and commend the first 40 players on their selection in the elite squad for 2018 and in doing so, securing their position at the top of their game.
”These women will not only have the opportunity to play as part of our Origin and Test matches, but they will be a part of State competitions, the National Championship and a Premiership competition later this year.”
NRL Elite Programs Manager, Brad Donald said it was a tough decision to arrive at the top 40 players and confirmed that the goal was to see the number of elite players rise in the future.
”The reality is, there are more than 40 players throughout Australia and many more in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific Islands that are playing fantastic rugby league – up to national and international standard,” Mr Donald said.
”The enthusiasm, commitment and positive attitude of every single player attending the women’s training camp on the Gold Coast last month, as well as many more women playing in local league competitions, fills me with great confidence that this will be a fantastic year for women’s rugby league, with a big future ahead.”
The top 40 players will head into camp in Sydney this weekend to continue preparations for the domestic and international season ahead.
2018 elite Australian NRL squad: Jasmin Allende – Redfern (NSW), Kezie Apps – Helensburgh (NSW), Chelsea Baker – Gladstone (QLD), Heather Ballinger – Souths (QLD), Annette Brander – Beerwah (QLD), Brittany Breayley – Ipswich Brothers (QLD), Sam Bremner – Helensburgh (NSW), Ali Brigginshaw – Ipswich Brothers (QLD), Karina Brown – Brisbane Easts (QLD), Nakia Davis-Welsh – Redfern (NSW), Vanessa Foliaki – Brisbane Easts (QLD), Jayme Fressard – North Newcastle (NSW), Talisha Harden – Inala (QLD), Kate Haren – Cairns (QLD), Kylie Hilder – North-Newcastle (NSW), Rikeya Horne – Corrimal (NSW), Kody House – Ipswich Brothers (QLD), Isabelle Kelly – North Newcastle (NSW), Chelsea Lenarduzzi – Burleigh (QLD), Asipau Mafi – Aspley Devils (QLD), Corban McGregor – Cronulla Caringbah (NSW), Caitlin Moran – North Newcastle (NSW), Rona Peters – Burleigh (QLD), Lavina O’Mealey – Redfern (NSW), Talesha Quinn – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW), Jessica Sergis – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW), Taleena Simon – Redfern (NSW), Ruan Sims – Cronulla Caringbah (NSW), CJ Sims – Ipswich Brothers (QLD), Amie Solomona – Brisbane Easts (QLD), Moriah Simon – Australian Defence Force Team (QLD), Shontelle Stowers – Cronulla Caringbah (NSW), Maddie Studdon – Redfern (NSW), Simaima Taufa – Mounties (NSW), Zahara Temara – Burleigh (QLD), Tahlulah Tillet – Cairns (QLD), Elianna Walton – Greenacre (NSW), Sarah Walker – Beerwah (QLD), Meg Ward – Australian Defence Force Team (NT), Rebecca Young – North Newcastle (NSW).