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The opening round of the 2020 NRL Telstra Women's Premiership will see 23 players across four teams make their debuts at GIO Stadium on Saturday with a select few to put their hand up for Rebel's Rookie of the Year award. 

The best rookie performance will be recognised each week and be voted on by you, the fans, before a panel of NRLW experts determines an overall winner following the 2020 Telstra Premiership women's grand final.

Fans will be able to vote every Monday before results are announced each Wednesday across women's rugby league social platforms.

Dominant Broncos forward Millie Boyle was crowned the 2019 winner after a stellar campaign in her maiden season in the code last year.

NRL.com has picked out 10 rookies to watch ahead of their maiden appearances, although only those aged under 23 will be eligible for the main award.

It's not every day a trio of Olympic gold medalists are labelled "rookies" but rugby sevens stars Charlotte Caslick, Ellia Green and Evania Pelite are included in the list of debutantes and rookies to watch, though, they will not be able to take out the main award.

Hale keen for opening game against the ‘favourites’

10 NRLW rookies to watch 

Elsie Albert (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Papua New Guinea forward Elsie Albert arrives at the Dragons boasting plenty of international experience. Renowned for her hard hitting and powerful running, Albert has been waiting patiently for her NRLW opportunity and will relish the chance to play in the middle alongside Jillaroos legend Steph Hancock.

Dragons forward Elsie Albert.
Dragons forward Elsie Albert. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Lauren Brown (Brisbane Broncos)

A former rugby sevens prodigy, Brown joins the Broncos after impressing for the Burleigh Bears in Queensland's Holcim Cup. The 25-year-old was set to pull on the green and gold for Australian rugby to start the year but the COVID-19 pandemic led her to local rugby league where she caught the eye of Broncos coach Kelvin Wright with her creative ability.

Broncos playmaker Lauren Brown.
Broncos playmaker Lauren Brown. ©NRL Photos

Charlotte Caslick (Sydney Roosters)

She's regarded as the best rugby sevens player on the planet but stepping into the NRLW will be a whole different ball game for Charlotte Caslick.

Charlotte Caslick representing Australia at the Women's World Sevens Series in France in 2016.
Charlotte Caslick representing Australia at the Women's World Sevens Series in France in 2016. ©photosport.co.nz

She's a self-confessed rookie in the code having never played a game – not even a club match – but there shouldn't be any underestimating her ability to shine on the big stage. Her NRLW experience can only go two ways but there's no doubting her speed, agility and overall fitness will ensure she's up for the challenge.

Jaime Chapman (St George Illawarra Dragons)

A shock selection on the wing with Shakiah Tungai switching to five-eighth, Chapman is a rising outside back who has come through the club's development system after being picked up from Cronulla in 2019. The 18-year-old was dominant in the under-18s women's Origin clash last season with her noticeable athleticism fast-tracking her into the senior side. Chapman is eligible for Rebel's rookie of the year award.

Dragons back Jaime Chapman.
Dragons back Jaime Chapman. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

Samantha Economos (New Zealand Warriors)

A product of Goulburn, Sam Economos is an up-and-coming front-rower who gets her chance on the big stage and near her local town after playing for Canterbury in the NSW Harvey Norman Premiership for the past two seasons. Economos will link with Brad Donald after their time in the Australian PM's XIII campaign last year. 

Warriors prop Samantha Economos.
Warriors prop Samantha Economos. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

Ellia Green (New Zealand Warriors)

Like Caslick, rugby sevens star Ellia Green is inexperienced when it comes to rugby league but, given she's not in a dominant team position, her game may make adjusting to the new code easier. An absolute powerhouse and huge coup for the competition, her selection on the wing in round one is certain to come with plenty of attention. Green joined the Warriors after gaining a temporary release from Rugby Australia with her size and power a real asset. If she gets space close to the line, good luck stopping her.

Rugby sevens superstar Ellia Green
Rugby sevens superstar Ellia Green ©photosport.co.nz

Ellie Johnston (St George Illawarra Dragons)

Bustling prop Ellie Johnston is another solid pick-up from the Dragons to boost their front-row stocks. Johnston had a strong season for the Rabbitohs in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership to earn a call-up. A member of the extended NSW Origin squad for the event in October, the Wauchope junior can run a handy line on the edge or match it with the best in the middle. Johnston is eligible for Rebel's rookie of the year award.

Warriors prop Taimane Levu.
Warriors prop Taimane Levu. ©NRL Photos

Taimane Levu (New Zealand Warriors)

A Samoan international, Taimane Levu is set to make an impact off the bench for the Warriors after receiving the call-up from Brad Donald earlier this month. Donald worked with Levu, a prop forward on the rise, as part of Australia's Prime Minister's XIII campaign last season. Levu is part of the Ipswich system and can produce big minutes if required. Levu is eligible for Rebel's rookie of the year award.

Yasmin Meakes (Sydney Roosters)

The Scone product arrives at the Roosters after plying her trade on the Central Coast in the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership this season. An outside back with immense speed, Meakes is a former touch footballer and rugby player and is the partner of former Knights and Raiders hooker Adam Clydsdale.

Warriors centre Evania Pelite.
Warriors centre Evania Pelite. ©Grant Trouville/NRL Photos

Evania Pelite (New Zealand Warriors)

Another rugby sevens star who arrives on the NRLW scene with little experience in the code but has speed to burn and is set to cause havoc in the backline alongside familiar face Ellia Green. Pelite's side-stepping ability is up there with the best in the business and the centre position should suit her style of play if she can get early ball from the Warriors halves.

 

Players eligible for Rebel's rookie of the year award

  • Romy Teitzel
  • Zara Canfield
  • Chante Temara
  • Shannon Mato
  • Jayme Fressard
  • Shenae Ciesiolka
  • Ellie Johnston
  • Talei Holmes
  • Teagan Berry
  • Jaime Chapman
  • Christine Pauli
  • Filomina Hanisi
  • Kennedy Cherrington
  • Jocelyn Kelleher
  • Kaitlyn Phillips
  • Stephanie Ball
  • Kayla Sauvao
  • Laken Paitai
  • Shaniah Power
  • Taimane Levu