Brisbane have confirmed their interest in Kiwi Ferns forward and World Cup player of the tournament Teuila Fotu-Moala as the race to sign marquee players for the inaugural NRL Holden Women’s Premiership intensifies.
Fotu-Moala is among 20 New Zealand-based players who, along with the Australian top 40 elite players announced earlier in the year, have this week begun receiving contract offers from the Broncos, Roosters, Dragons and Warriors.
The players have until mid-June to secure deals with one of the four clubs, worth up to $9,000 for the four-week premiership to be played as double headers with NRL finals matches.
In addition, the 40 players on 12-month NRL marquee contracts can earn up to $30,000, as well as receiving access to a high-performance training program and health insurance.
NRL clubs are restricted to a maximum of 15 marquee players each from the 60-strong pool and can begin signing other players after the mid-June deadline, with each club to finalise their 22 player-squads by the end of July.
There was speculation on Tuesday that Fotu-Moala was set to be the first player to sign with the Broncos after the Kiwi Ferns second-rower tweeted: “Time to get down to business. Lesgo,” along with a horse emoji. The tweet was later removed.
Meanwhile, on the same day, elite top 40 squad member Lavina O'Mealey posted a photo of a Sydney Roosters playing contract on her Instagram account which has also since been removed.
It's understood clubs will begin to confirm signings following the National Championships on the weekend.
Brisbane game development manager Paul Dyer said the club was interested in Fotu-Moala, who was nicknamed "Jukebox" by Broncos great Darren Lockyer during last year's ANZAC Test "because the hits keep coming",
However, Dyer said the Broncos had not yet finalised deals with any player.
“She is one of a number of girls we will present an offer to but that process is taking place now and they are getting offers from all the clubs,” Dyer said.
“I think you will probably start to see some signings confirmed after the National Championships this weekend.”
Recruitment managers from the four clubs will attend the Harvey Norman Women’s National Championship at Southport to identity talent from the NSW City, NSW Country, Queensland City, Queensland Country, Combined Affiliate States and Australian Defence Force teams.
Up to 150 players have registered for this weekend’s Talent ID on the Gold Coast, including elite players from women’s AFL, rugby union, hockey and touch football, while, the New Zealand National Women’s Championship will take place in Auckland.