The NRL has rewarded 20 Australian Holden Women's Premiership players with elite marquee contracts including seven fresh faces for the 2020 season.
The contracts have been awarded based on performance and commitment over the past 12 months as part of the Women's Elite Programs.
The women's marquee contracting system was developed in conjunction with the RLPA in 2019 and is similar to Cricket Australia's model with the intention to provide further incentives for players to develop their skill and remain in the game.
All 17 players who featured in the Jillaroos' most recent Test in October – a 28-8 win over the Kiwi Ferns in Wollongong – were awarded 12-month contracts including recent debutants Botille Vette-Welsh, Kirra Dibb, Millie Boyle, Shakiah Tungai, Tiana Penitani and Chelsea Lenarduzzi.
Long-serving Jillaroos pair Brittany Breayley and Sam Bremner, who were each unavailable for that match, were also contracted along with once-capped winger and Broncos try-scoring ace Julia Robinson.
The elite group will receive access to the National Women's Elite Coaching and Performance Staff, including tailored training programs, wellbeing and education support, as well as media and leadership training ahead of the upcoming representative calendar and 2021 World Cup.
Experienced players Chelsea Baker, Karina Brown, Vanessa Foliaki, Tazmin Gray, Zahara Tamara and Meg Ward have dropped off the 19-player elite list from last year while NSW halfback Maddie Studdon is another notable omission.
Non-contracted players will still have opportunities to join in elite player camps throughout the year, with the first to be held in early March in Queensland.
Maroons eager to return to winning ways on home soil
Jillaroos coach Brad Donald welcomed the return of veteran fullback Bremner alongside a burgeoning crop of rapidly-emerging younger players.
"It's fantastic to have Sammy Bremner back ready and raring to go again, while the likes of Millie Boyle, Botille Vette-Welsh, Shakiah Tungai and Kirra Dibb have come on to the scene and continue to impress," Donald said.
2020 NRL Women’s Contract List
- Kezie Apps
- Millie Boyle
- Annette Brander
- Brittany Breayley
- Sam Bremner
- Ali Brigginshaw
- Keeley Davis
- Kirra Dibb
- Tallisha Harden
- Isabelle Kelly
- Chelsea Lenarduzzi
- Corban McGregor
- Tiana Penitani
- Julia Robinson
- Jessica Sergis
- Hannah Southwell
- Simaima Taufa
- Shakiah Tungai
- Botille Vette-Welsh
- Holli Wheeler