Sydney Roosters coach Jamie Feeney believes an increase in NRLW games should be enough to cast aside credibility doubt that has come with the competition over the past three seasons.
NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed on Thursday the NRLW is set to "look different" in 2021, hinting the competition's fourth edition was headed for an expansion of some form.
While Abdo all but ruled out an increase in teams due to a lack of preparation time for future NRLW clubs to build a team next year, he noted the length of the NRLW and State of Origin were under review.
The NRLW was expected to extend to a seven-week competition in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the changes for at least another 12 months.
Feeney, who finished his role at the NRL working in the women's elite pathways last month, said the timing for change was right leading into the 2021 World Cup.
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"We've had this system for long enough and there are a few critics, and fair enough, who are saying it's a token competition," Feeney told NRL.com.
"The players and people involved don't think that but the people outside who don't know too much background see it like that, and they're the fans and critics that when it comes to it, their opinion is what matters.
"If we're not satisfying them and are only looking after the people involved in the game we're probably not doing it right."
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Feeney said the game could afford to keep its four-team format for at least another year as a sacrifice but added the process towards the NRLW grand final should change to keep interest levels high under a six-round draw.
"I would go the team that finishes first goes through to the grand final and we have a playoff between second and third," Feeney said.
"Over a six-week period a lot can happen. If you look at us this year we could've possibly got Charlotte Caslick back which would've made a difference.
"Bo Vette-Welsh could've also had a bit more time to get back from a hamstring injury and some of the girls could've got more game time and experience overall.
"They don't have high-level experience but there's only one way you can get that by playing and training more at that level."
Meanwhile, Feeney's future at the Roosters appears clouded with the respected mentor set to relocate to Queensland for family reasons in 2021.
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Feeney was a revelation for the Tricolours in helping turn around a miserable 2019 campaign to guide the club towards the NRLW grand final against the Broncos in October.
"I've spoken to the girls about the situation and they wanted me to be there to finish off what we started with them this year so it's disappointing," Feeney said.
"But it's just a bit early for anyone to be full-time at an NRLW club at the moment and I've tried my best to get a few different roles here but it hasn't worked out.
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"I got offered a teaching and coaching position at Marsden State in south of Brisbane and it was too good to refuse.
"I'm going to be working across male and female school programs so I'm getting back into the boys' side as well.
"I'll stay involved in the Jillaroos and hopefully I can also stay involved in the women's game in other ways. It could still be at the Roosters but like anything I'm just not sure what's going to happen."