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Everything you need to know: 2022 National Championships

The Harvey Norman National Championships is back in 2022 with around 300 aspiring NRLW players set to assemble on the Gold Coast and showcase their skills across four days. 

The national tournament, featuring 14 teams across Australia, is a crucial pathway for up-and-coming players to impress on a big stage with many coaches and selectors watching on for potential higher honours.

In 2021, there were 17 players who signed contracts with NRLW clubs after playing at the Championships, while two players – Destiny Brill and Tiana Raftstrand-Smith – represented Queensland a fortnight later in Ampol State of Origin.

The likes of Roosters premiership winner Keilee Joseph, Titans quartet Jasmine Peters, Lauren Dam, Jetaya Faifua and April Ngatupuna, Broncos forward Sara Sautia and Newcastle's Shannon Evans were among the graduates who later made their NRLW debut.

The tournament is split into two divisions - an under 19s and open's age group - with players who have either played in the NRLW previously or higher representative levels usually ineligible unless given prior approval.

In the only changes to the tournament, NSW Country will now feature in the open’s division with South Australia to field a mixed team of players either under or over 19 years of age in the under 19s tournament.

Western Australia are the reigning champions in the open’s division after beating the Gems in a golden point grand final last year.

The under 19s final finished with both Queensland sides – the Rubys and Sapphires – squaring off in the decider, the Sapphires winning 16-4.

Both an under 19s Queensland and NSW side are chosen from the tournament to feature in the upcoming representative weekend.

Western Australia are the reigning opens champions.
Western Australia are the reigning opens champions. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Harvey Norman National Championships

When does the tournament start?

The tournament will start on Thursday, June 9 at 9.30am and finish on Sunday, June 12 with a day of finals matches.

The draw for the open's division can be seen here, while the under 19s program can be viewed here.

Who will be playing in the tournament?

The open age division will consist of one six-team pool: 

  • Victoria
  • Australian Defence Force
  • Western Australia
  • Northern Territory
  • NSW Country
  • First Nations Gems

The Under 19 age division will consist of two pools of four teams:

POOL A

  • Queensland Sapphires
  • NSW City
  • Victoria
  • Western Australia

POOL B

  • Queensland Rubys
  • NSW Country
  • Northern Territory
  • South Australia

Where is the tournament being held?

The tournament will be played at Burleigh’s Pizzey Park in Miami, Queensland. (adjacent to Burleigh Leagues Club).

Can I attend the Harvey Norman National Championships?

Yes, you can. Entry is free.

Where can I watch the matches?

NRL.com will live stream every game while Kayo will broadcast the finals.

Full Match Replay: QLD Sapphires v QLD Rubys - Grand Final, 2021

How long do the matches go for?

Under 19 matches go for 40 minutes per game (20-minute halves) while open's will go for 20 minutes only, however open's teams will play a new opponent back-to-back after 20 minutes (see draw for more).

For the finals, open's matches will be played for 40 minutes consisting of 20-minute halves.

When will squads be announced?

All squads can be found here.

Full Match Replay: Western Australia v First Nations Gems - Grand Final, 2021

What is the purpose of the tournament?

Aspiring NRLW players who have been selected either through state and regional competitions across Australia get their chance to impress for higher honours and at different levels.

The pathway allows players who may not usually get the best pathway opportunities the chance to showcase their skill on a bigger stage.

Each of the 16 teams have different reasons to feature in the tournament. 

For example, players representing Queensland and NSW under 19s sides may be looking to push for selection in the upcoming under 19s women's State of Origin match on June 23, on top of potentially being signed by an NRLW club.

Other players from other teams, like the First Nations Gems, may be looking to not only get picked up by an NRLW club or push for higher honours in the future, but also push their claims to be part of the Indigenous All Stars team in 2023. 

For players from other states, the tournament presents an opportunity for them to have a genuine pathway to be seen at a national level while also strengthening rugby league across Australia.

Acknowledgement of Country

National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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