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Penitani sweating on squeezing in summer training post-lockdown

A summer pre-season is unusual for NRLW players but Parramatta recruit Tiana Penitani is hopeful the six sides can squeeze in enough preparation when biosecurity restrictions ease.

Penitani said it would be ideal if the Eels' inaugural NRL Telstra Women's Premiership side could get a six-week pre-season to prepare for their maiden campaign early next year.

The NRL announced a blockbuster schedule for the 2022 season last month which includes two NRLW competitions, a State of Origin clash and the World Cup.

Further details around specific dates are expected later this year.

Having to delay the start of the expanded competition has been a major source of frustration for all stakeholders from head office to the players, but the 25-year-old is also optimistic about the future.

She now hopes her new Eels teammates, many of whom have been stuck in strict lockdown restrictions in western Sydney this year, can have enough time to prepare for the postponed NRLW season.

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"I'm really looking forward to playing again but I just hope there are the right processes in place to get the girls back into playing footy," Penitani told

"We're usually a bit more conditioned for the load of an NRLW season that starts in August by coming off playing for our local clubs so we've never had a summer NRLW pre-season before.

"This season we were looking at a six-week period so I hope we're able to get that again. We're all just hanging to get together as a team, it's been really difficult in lockdown.

"By January or February next year we wouldn't have played footy for 8-9 months which is a bit of a scary thought.

"I'm not sure if we're going to have a trial game before round one either so we'll definitely need some decent time together in the summer."

Penitani has used the postponement of the competition to rehabilitate a knee injury suffered in the women's State of Origin clash in June.

The latest ambassador to come on board for NRLW commercial partner Bundaberg, she was lured to the Eels as a marquee signing this year.

"I'm really looking forward to the move to Parramatta and to be able to start with a club from scratch," she said.

"From what I know, everyone is keen to stay at their clubs which is great. I can't see there being any movement but I feel like it will come down to whether players can commit to the new schedule."

Penitani said she hoped the relationship between the players and the NRL could strengthen ahead of a busy program in 2022.

"We all want to grow the game and put the game in a better place.

"I feel like the majority of us are all on the same page. Hopefully, we can learn from this as a group. We're all under the same umbrella."

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