2022-04-14 01:43:00

ARLC chairman Peter V’landys has revealed his ambitious plan for every NRL club to field an NRLW team within five years, in a move that will transform all fixtures into double-headers.

The bold plan will see the men’s and women’s sides play at the same ground each week, and clubs will eventually host triple-headers on game day if V’Landys’ dream of a reserve grade competition is also accomplished.

The Broncos, Dragons, Titans, Roosters, Eels and Knights currently play in the NRLW.

The competition is scheduled to expand from six to eight teams next year, and to 10 teams in 2024. But V’Landys has told foxsports.com.au he plans on fast-tracking that timeline, which was announced in March, and adding all four new teams in 2023 – before then expanding again.

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The NRL welcomes the Dolphins as its 17th team next season and V’Landys said a 17-team women’s competition is financially viable while rejecting arguments the talent pool doesn’t run deep enough.

NRL teams currently receive $13 million annually from the governing body to pay players and to run their operations.

“We fund the male players so there’s no reason we shouldn’t also be funding the female players and that’s what we’re doing,” V’Landys told foxsports.com.au.

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“The previous administration had all the clubs paying for the women’s competition, the NRL has now taken that over so we’re paying the majority of the costs to quickly expand the women’s competition.

“That’s why the clubs now are looking to get a licence because it’s a lot more attractive than what it was before.

“The reason I want to go to 10 teams next year is because there will be four clubs applying for the two spots, so why not just give them all four.

“Why have two clubs miss out if they feel they can field a team?

“There’s an argument that the depth of players isn’t there and you may injure women if they’re not to the same standard but I think with the two state authorities running their competitions, I think there probably is enough players.

“There are a number of women’s teams in the New South Wales and Queensland Cup, so there are a lot of women who are playing the game.”


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Rugby league great Benny Elias said the NRLW has enjoyed a meteoric rise since its inaugural season in 2018, and he called for every NRL team to field a women’s side by 2026.

“I think the girls offer as much as the guys at the moment in terms of entertainment value,” Elias told the Fox League Podcast.

“I think the hierarchy now should almost make it mandatory that every club has a women’s side, or if not now, give them at least a three-year time limit to build it all up. Then from the year 2026 onwards, say we’re going to start making it mandatory that the girls play before the guys.

“It will be great value for your afternoon’s footy, really great value.”

V’Landys backed the idea and believes it can be accomplished by 2027.

“If we went to 10 teams next year, within the next five years (we can get to 17 teams),” V’Landys said.

“It will take longer to get them fully professional. It’s like anything else, we’re going to have to put a salary cap on it and have some marquee players at different teams.

“It’s going to be a juggling act but I think we can do it.”

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V’Landys’ grand plan is for every fixture to become a triple-header, with a men’s reserve grade competition playing before the women.

“Part of the tribalism of rugby league is you want to be able to see up and coming players, if a player gets dropped you want to be able to watch them play reserve grade,” V’Landys said.

“When I used to go to the ground, you’d watch reserve grade and it was like a crescendo to first grade.

“It was like the climax of a novel, the whole atmosphere changed and having the reserve grade really generates an enormous amount of additional atmosphere and makes it more value for money for the customer.

“You can also follow a player’s journey, if you look at the old program in the old days you see all the great players all started through reserve grade or under 23s and worked their way up.

“When Canberra started a reserve grade, they were shocked many people came early to watch it.

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“So there’s certainly an appetite for it, we’re just looking at making sure we do it right and we’re looking at all that at the moment and the women play an enormous part of that as well.

“This year the quality of women’s rugby league… they were superb, some of those tries they scored.

“The St George fullback, Emma Tonegato, she’s a brilliant player. I’d go just to watch her alone, she’s so fast and the skill level that she’s got.”

The NRLW will play its fifth season, a six-team competition, at the end of this year before expanding in 2023.

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Source by [graycupnews.com]


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