Geographic location the focus as NRL women's teams announced
Four teams are set to compete in the inaugural NRL Holden Women's Premiership in August with the Brisbane Broncos, Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra Dragons and New Zealand Warriors the first participating clubs.
Geographical location played a major part in the decision-making process according to NRL CEO Todd Greenberg. The decision came after talking with senior members of the Jillaroos squad and coaching staff.
It is believed the NRL's decision to spread the clubs across two states and two countries was done to initially cover as many areas as possible with an eye on expansion in future seasons.
The Broncos and Roosters' inclusions were strategy based, with each club representing Brisbane and Sydney, while the Warriors had a strong application given the dominant New Zealand Kiwi Ferns are set to feature heavily in the squad.
"We think we've got the balance right for our first year and I would expect more NRL clubs to join the competition in the years ahead," Greenberg said.
"The formation of a women's premiership is one of the most exciting developments the game has seen.
"For the first time, our best female players will have the opportunity to play in an NRL competition – on the game's biggest stage."
Clubs will now begin a contract process to recruit players with more than 100 required across the four squads for balance purposes and to cover injuries.
Jillaroos stars Kezie Apps and Sam Bremner have been the faces for the Red V throughout the club's bid, while Queensland skipper Karina Brown has already expressed an interest to lead the Broncos.
Teams to miss out after applying included the South Sydney Rabbitohs and Cronulla Sharks, with Greenberg indicating there was a fear over short-term player quality and workload.
Sharks CEO Barry Russell was disappointed Cronulla had missed out on having a team in the competition.
"I am extremely disappointed and dumbfounded by the decision," Russell said in a statement.
"We have sound experience and in-depth knowledge of women’s rugby league after launching the Cronulla Sharks Women’s Series team and hosting the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2017."
Greenberg responded to the Sharks' comments and encouraged the club to continue with their female growth in the game.
"That's their emotional response and I understand their disappointment," he said.
"Let me say we had six very good bids. The two teams that missed out have handled themselves very professionally despite some of their disappointment.
"There was a decision back in 1908 and JJ Giltinan was in my shoes today. He had to let down a few people. We're at that point today, but the women's game will grow enormously in the years ahead."
The news completes an historic occasion for the female competitions with the first ever Holden women's State of Origin set to feature as part of the standalone representative weekend in June.
For more information go to Women's Rugby League.