Women prepare to enter into unknown as training kicks off
All four women's squads assembled this week for their first training sessions together but their draw and venue schedule over the four-week competition is still yet to be determined – and will likely depend on how their respective men's sides are travelling.
In a strong boost for the inaugural season, each of the four clubs are in the top eight of the men's Telstra Premiership, which could prove an opportunity to play host for a couple of women's sides in front of their home fans at least in the opening round of the competition.
The NRL Holden Women's Premiership will be played as double-header fixtures to the men's finals series. It's understood the NRL will tactically schedule the women's fixtures alongside the men's schedule to suit workload, fan engagement and travel commitments.
Should the Dragons or Roosters finish in the top two of the Telstra Premiership and host a finals clash in week one, it's likely one of women's sides will play beforehand - likewise if the Warriors or Broncos finish in fifth or sixth.
The format has been used in the former under 20s competition over previous years with some clubs forced to play at away venues despite finishing higher on the ladder, due to the final standings of the first-grade fixtures.
Australian Jillaroos forward Kezie Apps told NRL.com stepping into the unknown will be made easier knowing every women's side is in a similar position.
"Because it's all so new to us, we'll prepare as we would any other game," Apps said.
"Hopefully it works out for sides, but if not people who haven't come to the game before but are interested in the women's game can come along and watch beforehand."
The Dragons announced St George Bank their major sponsor along with their playing strip on Wednesday and unveiled their exclusive women's membership options for the competition.
Dragons coach Daniel Lacey has assembled a squad including representatives from the Illawarra, Queensland, Victoria and New Zealand.
Coming together on and off the paddock shapes as the biggest challenge for the side with players set to juggle work and study commitments during the next two months, while the squad has five mothers with nine children between them.
"We need to focus on building our own team and coming together over this eight-week period rather than who we play at this point," Apps said.
"We can look at individuals and how they play but as a team we don't know how all these sides are going to come together, or how we as a group will come together.
"This is a learning experience for everyone ... the players, club and game.
"That's what makes it all the more exciting."