Written by Oliver Kellner-Dunk
For quite a while now fans have called for the Women’s State of Origin concept to be expanded to multiple games per season to better look the same as the men’s version of the game.
Yesterday it was confirmed by the NRL that the Women’s Origin game will indeed be extended into a two-game stand-alone series from 2023 onwards.
Granted this is not exactly what many fans have been calling for as the Women’s Origin game has not been expanded to a three-match series, but it is certainly a step in the right direction.
That isn’t the only change being made to the women’s representative game with State of Origin match payments to be increased from $4,000 to $6,000 in 2022 while match payments for the All-Stars game will be increased from $1,600 to $3,000.
In other news for women’s Rugby League in Australia, the NRL has confirmed that the NRLW competition will expand to eight clubs in 2023 with the Warriors likely returning to the league alongside an expansion club, but it does not end there as two more teams will be added in 2024 growing the competition to ten team’s.
A revamped salary cap system will also be added next season that will see the average NRLW contract increase by 28%.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo has spoken about these gargantuan changes to the women’s game via the NRL’s official website.
“Today is an exciting day for the women’s game,” said Abdo.
“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.”
Rugby League’s women’s game has so much potential to grow and appeal to a wider audience that will see the NRLW become a sustainable product that is one day as profitable as the NRL.
We are still a while away from this and these changes alone will not fix everything, but this is a real display of intent from the NRL.
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