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Wests Tigers' NRLW push heats up with Apps, Sergis signings

Wests Tigers have underlined their future NRLW ambitions with the signings of Kezie Apps and Jessica Sergis for their Harvey Norman NSW Premiership campaign next season.

The pair will join the Wests Tigers in the state league in April and will play for the club between both NRLW competitions after previously representing Helensburgh.

Apps (Dragons) and Sergis (Roosters) will play for their respective NRLW clubs early next year in the postponed 2021 NRLW season before joining the Wests Tigers for the lower-tier competition. 

Sergis has knocked back a chance to play for the Central Coast Roosters, the feeder to the Sydney Roosters NRLW team, and will remain teammates with Apps at the state club level.

Parramatta Eels NRLW recruit Botille Vette-Welsh has also re-signed with the Wests Tigers and will join her new teammates once her commitments in blue and gold are over.

The Wests Tigers hope to join the NRLW as soon as 2023 with the signings of Apps and Sergis a strong indication of the club's intention to improve their roster in the premier state competition ahead of being granted a possible NRLW licence. 

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"They are both world-class players who have performed at the highest levels in the game and will certainly add a great deal of experience, talent and professionalism to our team," Wests Tigers CEO Justin Pascoe said.

"As a club, we're really excited by the direction and the progress that has been made throughout our women's pathways program as we strive for an NRLW licence in 2023.

"We're also very pleased to have Botille remain with Wests Tigers. She has been an integral part of our club over a number of seasons and has been a big part of the progress made in our women's program."

The NSWRL are yet to announce a structure for their state competition in 2022 as they work around a busy women's schedule expected to be announced by the NRL later this year.

In 2021, the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership consisted of 11 teams and 15 rounds.

Minor premiers the Central Coast Roosters were crowned premiers after the finals series was cancelled due to COVID-19 lockdown restrictions.

Meanwhile, South Sydney continue to put the pillars in place to push towards NRLW inclusion with the club set to field three lower grade teams for the first time in 2022.

"This is by far the biggest investment we've made in women's rugby league so far at our club as we build our pathways with a view to fielding an NRLW team in the not-too-distant future," Rabbitohs head of elite pathways and player development Joe O'Callaghan said.

"The interest in playing for the Rabbitohs in all three tiers of female teams has been overwhelming and we're delighted to see so many women and girls wanting to represent our great club."

South Sydney have appointed experienced lower grades coach Shane Sultana as replacement for Dean Widders, who will step up to coach the Eels NRLW side.

England international Charlotte Booth and Fiji representative Patricia Raikadroka are among the Rabbitohs key signings for next season.