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The expanded NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership (NRLW) will begin in Grand Final week to give NRLW players and clubs the best opportunity to complete a season.

The Australian Rugby League Commission (ARLC) has reiterated its commitment to conducting the NRLW season in 2021 and have delayed the start, given the worsening COVID-19 outbreak in NSW.

NRL Chief Executive Andrew Abdo said the decision to delay the season was in the best interests of the playing group.

“We are absolutely committed to the new 6-team competition being played in 2021. The worsening COVID outbreak in NSW provides additional challenges to the NRLW because most of our players also have employment and other commitments outside of rugby league,’’ he said.

“We want players to have the opportunity to play NRLW without impacting their normal lives. By delaying kick-off until October it provides the best opportunity for a normal season.”

Mr Abdo said the game was planning a blockbuster start to the NRLW season.

“We’re excited to kick-off in Grand Final week. It’s our biggest week of the year and it will be fitting that the NRLW will be an important component of the week.

“All eyes will be on the women’s competition in October and that’s a great outcome as we look to grow the competition.

“I want to thank the players, participating clubs and the RLPA for their contribution in reaching an outcome that is in the best interests of the players and the game more broadly.”

Six NRLW clubs; Brisbane Broncos, Gold Coast Titans, Newcastle Knights, Parramatta Eels, St George Illawarra Dragons and the Sydney Roosters will participate in the 2021 NRLW.