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NRLW players poised to return to the training track

More than 80 of Australia and New Zealand's elite female rugby league players will begin training with their clubs next week ahead of the NRLW's second season with major state and national competitions finishing up this weekend.

The South-East Queensland Division 1 competition ended on Saturday with the West Brisbane Panthers upsetting reigning champions Burleigh 20-8 in a grand final rematch at Emerson Park in Grange.

The Bears were gunning for their fifth consecutive title but it was the Panthers who finished strong to win their maiden premiership.

Six Brisbane Broncos representatives took the field for the state grand final with Indigenous All Stars centre Amber Pilley crossing the line first for the Bears before the Panthers rallied with rising winger Gemma Schnaubelt scoring a treble.

Broncos recruit and former rugby sevens player Amy Turner was dangerous for the Panthers, while Zahara Temara looks set to be available for the Sydney Roosters' 2019 campaign after overcoming a leg injury that kept her out of State of Origin calculations in June.

In the major NSW competition, defending premiers Mounties overcame a late scare to defeat Wests Tigers 14-10 in their preliminary final clash at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.

NRL on 2019 NRLW fixtures

A try to Mounties back-rower Kaitlyn Phillips with four minutes remaining proved to be heartbreak for the Tigers, who enjoyed an otherwise successful maiden season in the competition despite a difficult final result.

Wests Tigers fullback Botille Vette-Welsh will link with St George Illawarra next week after securing a NRLW contract last month.

Meanwhile, Mounties will face off against CRL Newcastle, who reached the NSWRL grand final after overcoming Cronulla 16-12 at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday.

Amber Pilley in action for Brisbane.
Amber Pilley in action for Brisbane. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

A second half try to Caitlan Johnston, who won player of the match for the under 18s Origin curtain raiser in June, was enough to put away the Sharks with Sydney Roosters recruit Simone Smith also making a successful return from injury in time for the second NRLW season.

Several NRLW-contracted players including Golden Boot winner Isabelle Kelly, Hannah Southwell, Holli Wheeler and Simaima Taufa will be on show in this weekend's NSWRL decider, to be played at ANZ Stadium prior to the NRL match between Canterbury and the Wests Tigers on Saturday.

The Warriors' preparations will begin across the ditch after the NZRL nationals carnival finished up last week. 

Counties Manukau retained the title against Akarana with Warriors quartet Apii Nicholls, Krystal Rota, Aieshaleigh Smalley and Onjeurlina Leiataua among the names included in the team of the tournament. 

The first week of the NRLW draw will be announced once the men's finals series scheduling is decided at the end of the month.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland 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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