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Mahalia Murphy in action for the Jillaroos in 2015.

Former Jillaroo-turned Wallaroo Mahalia Murphy predicts the influx of cross-code talent playing in the NRL Women's Telstra Premiership this season won't be a one-off.

Murphy starred in her one and only Test appearance for the Jillaroos in 2015 with a hat-trick before departing rugby league to join the Australian rugby sevens program ahead of the Olympics in Rio.

The 26-year-old linked with St George Illawarra Dragons this season with the COVID-19 pandemic putting her rugby commitments on hold, but has been limited in opportunities.

Murphy, who grew up playing both codes, says players are willing to go wherever the best opportunities are and have proven to adapt with relative ease if required.

"I definitely want to play rugby league again down the track," Murphy told

"We've got the Wallaroos in the World Cup next year so that's my focus but if we can play league after that I'm all for it.

Dragons v Warriors - Round 3

"It's been really exciting to come back to the game and the NRLW players who I used to play with have developed so much and there's more knowledge all round.

"Since I've been gone the skill is there – running, passing, kicking, and the physicality, it's at another level.

"It's been really impressive and I think if the competition expands you'll see a lot more girls switch in the coming years."

The NRL's next decision with expansion could be crucial to several players returning in the future and possibly choosing rugby league as their elite sport.

Warriors star Ellia Green will commit to chasing Olympic gold in Tokyo next year but wouldn't rule out a chance to return to the NRLW again one day.

"I've never had such a quick connection with a team before, just in terms of the bond we have," Green said.

"My main goal coming into rugby league was to deliver my skill set and hope that I could bring things back to sevens.

"I'm just thinking about the short-term for now but you never say never [to a return]."

Warriors coach Brad Donald believes some sort of league expansion needs to occur from next season.

With a 40-50% squad turnover rate per club on average over the past three campaigns, Donald believes the depth has been created for the short term.

Rugby sevens star Ellia Green celebrated her arrival in the NRLW with a try in her first game for the Warriors.
Rugby sevens star Ellia Green celebrated her arrival in the NRLW with a try in her first game for the Warriors. ©NRL Photos

"We either need to bite off a big chunk and say we're going to put in a couple of extra teams and be willing to drop the standard a little bit," Donald said.

"Or we've got to extend the length of the competition and make sure the high quality is maintained.

"I think the majority of games this year has been of high quality. There's also a whole other team sitting back home in New Zealand who can play at this level.

"Possibly two lots of teams. New Zealand is a really important piece to the [overall] talent pool."

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