NRLW clubs will have less than two weeks to finalise their rosters for the 2020 competition after officially receiving contracts for players to sign this week.
The contracting period for clubs was due to begin last month but a delay with Project Apollo awaiting clearance on various issues pushed plans back a fortnight.
However, players have been given the green light to sign with clubs up until September 15 with some squads looking to hit the training paddock next week pending each player being individually approved to play.
After a salary cap points system was introduced last season to ensure a level playing field, the third season of the NRLW will involve a similar requirement for clubs to adhere to.
Points will be allocated to players for Test and State of Origin appearances, representing the Prime Minister's XIII, All Stars, or playing at the National Championships.
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Points will be allocated for representative achievements for the past two seasons with a maximum of 10 points earned for the highest level reached.
In changes to last year's cap system, clubs will not be required to spend a minimum of 120 points.
Each club will be allowed to sign 22 players whose value totals a maximum of 160 points, with a player worth:
- 10 points if they represented a Tier 1 country against a Tier 1 country (Jillaroos or Kiwi Ferns) in 2019;
- 8 points if they played State of Origin for NSW or Queensland in 2019;
- 6 points if they played in the if they represented a Tier 1 country against a Tier 1 country (Jillaroos or Kiwi Ferns) in 2018;
- 4 points if they represented a Tier 1 country against a Tier 2 country in 2019;
- 4 points if they played State of Origin for NSW or Queensland in 2018;
- 4 points if they represented the PM’s XIII in 2019;
- 3 points if they played at the 2019 National Championships;
- 2 points if they represented the PM’s XIII in 2018.
NRLW players, coaches and support staff will be subject to their own biosecurity protocols during their training and playing period with some measures differing from the NRL Telstra Premiership.
Each player or staff member involved in the upcoming season is required to fill out a detailed 10-page pre-screening document, which requires approval before that person is allowed to train or play.
Clubs will have a medical officer and COVID coordinator during their eight-week commitment with their team.
In signing news, St George Illawarra are expected to announce the return of Sam Bremner after the Jillaroos fullback missed last season through the birth of her first child, Reef.
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Bremner is set to link with Australian teammate Isabelle Kelly, who will stay at the Dragons after switching to the Red V for the Nines tournament in February.
Bremner's return has cast doubt over Botille Vette-Welsh's future at the club with the Jillaroos utility likely to join the Roosters.
The Tricolours are poised to unveil rugby sevens star Charlotte Caslick alongside Vette-Welsh in a boost for the squad after Jamie Feeney declared at least 10 spots were up for grabs following player retirements and releases.
Caslick's Australian sevens teammate Ellia Green is expecting to link with defending premiers Brisbane for the competition.
The Broncos, already without Amber Pilley (knee), Amy Turner (pregnancy) and Heather Ballinger (retirement), have also lost Chelsea Baker for the season with the veteran outside back unwilling to commit to this season's demands.
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The withdrawal of Baker is far more familiar at the Warriors with only six players from last year's squad committing to a move to Australia for the competition.
Recently appointed Warriors coach Brad Donald is expected to assemble a squad mixed with players across Queensland and NSW to help the Kiwi-based contingent, who will arrive in Australia next week.
The Warriors won't be able to train together as a squad until mid-September with players set to undergo a 14-day quarantine once arriving in NSW.
Warriors captain Georgia Hale is amongst the half dozen New Zealand representatives who are expected to make the trip, however, it's understood national teammate Honey Hireme-Smiler has succumbed to a knee injury in a blow for the side's campaign.