Ten players to watch in NRL Holden Women's Premiership
They're the big names - the most influential players in our game - destined to play crucial roles for their respective sides in the inaugural NRL Holden women's premiership kicking off next week.
Here are 10 players to watch out for and why.
Isabelle Kelly (Sydney Roosters)
A two-try hero and player of the match for the Blues in Holden State of Origin, Isabelle Kelly can be the face of the women's game for the next decade. Her speed and agility are her greatest assets and the 21-year-old sets a benchmark for rising outside backs.
Teuila Fotu-Moala (Brisbane Broncos)
Kiwi Ferns representative Teuila Fotu-Moala has made the move from New Zealand to Brisbane, the powerhouse club identifying her as a prime target early and landing her signature.
The player of the World Cup tournament last year, Fotu-Moala is an intimidating back-rower who has earned the nickname "jukebox" from Darren Lockyer for her big-hitting ways.
Kezie Apps (St George Illawarra Dragons)
An ambassador with the Dragons, Kezie Apps was a shoe-in signature for the club after moving from Bega to the Illawarra region in her teenage years. A rangy back-rower who can play on both edges, the Jillaroos representative is one of the most dominant forwards in the game and will vice-captain the Red V in the inaugural season. Look for her line-running in a Matt Gillett style of play.
Apii Nicholls (New Zealand Warriors)
An elusive fullback who was crowned New Zealand Rugby League's best player in 2017, Nicholls has made the most of her switch from rugby union to league in the space of two years to become one of the most dangerous players in the game. Nicholls linked with playmaker Laura Mariu for a spectacular try in the side's recent trial win over Auckland. Look for that combination to blossom throughout the competition.
Lavina O'Mealey (Sydney Roosters)
In the final year of her decorated career, Indigenous All Stars representative Lavina O'Mealey is an underrated utility who played in the halves alongside Maddie Studdon for the Blues in June following a season-ending injury to Caitlin Moran.
The veteran Jillaroo will link with the Tricolours before retirement and provides leadership and direction for the star-studded squad. Watch for her footwork and speed close to the line.
Ali Brigginshaw (Brisbane Broncos)
Brisbane recruit Ali Brigginshaw was one of the first signings by the club after a stellar 2017 season that included player of the World Cup final honours. The creative halfback is one of the tallest players on the paddock but has the ability to weave her way through the defensive line with ease.
Brigginshaw will be vital to the Broncos' campaign and be the key playmaker in the halves.
Sam Bremner (St George Illawarra Dragons)
There was no doubting Sam Bremner's ability on the paddock but a series of injuries over the last two years threatened to derail her career.
Thankfully the speedster has made a successful return this season to earn player of the tournament honours in the Harvey Norman National Championships in May, and featured in NSW's win over Queensland, setting up two tries. Bremner will skipper the Dragons with Apps as her deputy.
Lorina Papali'i (New Zealand Warriors)
On name alone the story of Lorina Papali'i's return to rugby league is incredible. The mother of Warriors player Isaiah, Lorina will be the second oldest player in the women's competition in September. Just like her son, Lorina started in the back row in the Warriors' trial game with a solid performance against Auckland in August.
The fitness guru has an impeccable record under her belt after representing the Kiwi Ferns for a decade prior to retirement and will be looking to inspire the young Warriors pack, who have lost key forwards to Australian-based clubs for the competition.
Ruan Sims (Sydney Roosters)
The most recognised player in the women's game but Ruan Sims will be desperate to just get back on the paddock after a stop-start year that included her missing the Holden State of Origin clash in June for the Blues with a broken wrist.
Sims' rock-solid defence has been the cornerstone of her game for years and in a game that is beginning to evolve, she's showing no signs of slowing down at the ripe age of 36. Given her lack of time on the paddock this year, she'll be fresh in comparison to other players so look for her to use that to her advantage across the month-long competition.
Brittany Breayley (Brisbane Broncos)
We saw glimpses of Brittany Breayley's ability in the Holden State of Origin clash with her blindside play to set up Karina Brown for a try and her sting in defence, but the best is yet to come.
Born in Mackay, the 27-year-old has spent a decade playing the game and was a key cog in the Jillaroos' World Cup triumph in 2017. Look for her creativity and quick play out of dummy half late in games.