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2021 NRLW Signings Tracker: Dragons release Stowers; Pelite joins Titans

NRLW clubs will have until late January to finalise squads ahead of the Telstra Women's Premiership kick-off on February 27.

Players who had signed contracts for the competition's fourth season in 2021 will remain with their NRLW clubs before becoming free agents ahead of the fifth season later in 2022.

Parramatta were the first club to finalise their squad before Christmas while the Titans, Knights, Dragons and Roosters have one roster spot each to fill.

Premiers Brisbane have two spots left on their roster after recently bolstering their squad with England prop Roxy Murdoch and former rugby sevens back Hagiga Mosby.

The Titans secured a coup during the Christmas break with rugby sevens star Evania Pelite confirmed to join the club for their inaugural campaign.

Contracts By Club

The 26-year-old was one of the star attractions in the NRLW last year with three tries, two try assists, 22 tackle busts and four line breaks in three appearances at the Warriors.

The dual-code international will join Dragons-bound outside back Emma Tonegato in a return to rugby league this year while Page McGregor, younger sister of Raecene, will also wear the Red V.

The Dragons released Shontelle Stowers by mutual agreement in January and she was replaced in the squad by experienced Queensland utility Kody House.

The best of the NRLW regular season

NRL Telstra Women's Premiership

The fourth season of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership will kick off on February 27 with a triple-header scheduled at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle.

Three new NRLW clubs - Parramatta, Gold Coast and Newcastle - join foundation clubs the Broncos, Dragons and Roosters in the competition.

Under a marquee and points cap system, players across the game have been allocated into eight different categories.

A player's highest level of representation will be counted to the overall figure only.

The maximum number of points a club can accrue is 130 per squad of 24 players.

The breakdown is:

  • 10 points - A player who was offered a "Tier A" central contract for the 2021 NRLW season - a maximum of four players at each club only;
  • 9 points - A player who was selected and participated in the 2020 Women's State of Origin;
  • 8 points - A player who was selected and participated in the 2019 Women’s State of Origin; OR
  • 8 points - A player who was selected to represent and participated in the respective Test between a Tier One country against a Tier One country in the 2019 calendar year;
  • 6 points - A player who was selected and participated in the 2018 Women’s State of Origin; OR
  • 6 points - A player who was selected to represent and participated in the respective Test for a Tier One country in the 2018 calendar year;
  • 4 points - A player who was selected to represent and participated in the 2021 All Stars match; OR
  • 4 points - A player who participated in the 2020 NRLW Premiership;
  • 3 points - A player who was selected to represent and participated in the 2020 All Stars match; OR
  • 3 points - A player who participated in the 2019 NRLW Premiership; OR
  • 3 points - A player who was selected to represent a Tier Two country in the 2019 calendar year;
  • 2 points - A player who was selected to represent and participated in the 2019 All Stars match; OR
  • 2 points - A player who was selected to represent the Prime Minister’s XIII in 2018 or 2019;
  • 1 point - All other players who do not fit any of the above criteria.

NRL Telstra Women's Premiership squads

Brisbane Broncos

Gains: Kaitlyn Phillips (Roosters), Roxy Murdoch (Roosters), Hagiga Mosby, Emily Bass, Jada Ferguson, Toni Hunt, Lesa Kaleti Mataafa, Hayley Maddick, Amy Turner, Sara Sautia.

Re-signed: Tarryn Aiken, Millie Boyle, Ali Brigginshaw, Lauren Brown, Shenae Ciesiolka, Lavinia Gould, Amber Hall, Tallisha Harden, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Julia Robinson, Nakita Sao, Tamika Upton.

Losses: Zara Canfield (Titans), Jessika Elliston (Titans), Jayme Fressard (Knights), Shannon Mato (Titans), Chante Temara (Roosters), Romy Teitzel (Knights).

Unsigned: Tyler Birch, Annette Brander, Raecene McGregor, Meg Ward.

Talking point: The Broncos are the team to beat in the NRLW after three consecutive premierships since 2018. Kelvin Wright takes charge of the side for a third campaign and has managed to keep plenty of players who have contributed to the club's success.

The best of the NRLW grand finals

Gold Coast Titans

Gains: Karina Brown (Warriors), Zara Canfield (Broncos), Brianna Clark (Warriors), Jessika Elliston (Broncos), Tazmin Gray (Warriors), Georgia Hale (Warriors), Steph Hancock (Dragons), Shannon Mato (Broncos), Evania Pelite (Warriors), Shaniah Power (Warriors), Crystal Tamarua (Warriors), Brittany Breayley-Nati, Kimiora Breayley-Nati, Destiny Brill, Lauren Dam, Jetaya Faifua, Grace Griffin, Karli Hansen, Cobie-Jane Morgan, April Ngatupuna, Jasmine Peters, Rona Peters, Tiana Raftstrand-Smith.

Talking point: Jamie Feeney shifts from helping the Roosters get back on track in 2020 to leading a Titans squad in its maiden season. Feeney will look to assemble a squad that boasts plenty of experience and youth, particularly from the local region.

Newcastle Knights

Gains: Caitlan Johnston, Kyra Simon, Bobbi Law (Roosters), Maitua Feterika, Jayme Fressard (Broncos), Ngatokotoru Arakua, Annetta Nu'uausala, Georgia Page (Dragons), Romy Teitzel (Broncos), Charntay Poko, Krystal Rota, Chantelle Graham, Phoebe Desmond, Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daly, Charlotte Scanlan, Kararaina Wira-Kohu, Katelyn Vaha'akolo, Emma Manzelmann, Emma Sykes, Katie Green, Paige Parker, Rangimarie Edwards-Bruce, Tahlulah Tillett.

Talking point: Newcastle originally struggled to attract marquee players to the Hunter but through former coach Blake Green have since struck gold with the luring of several Kiwi Ferns representatives. Mixed with a good blend of local youth, the Knights are in for an underrated inaugural season. They'll be coached by former Tarsha Gale Cup mentor Casey Bromilow.

Parramatta Eels

Gains: Therese Aiton, Kennedy Cherrington (Roosters), Abbi Church, Emily Curtain, Jocephy Daniels, Jade Etherden (Dragons), Fatafehi Hanisi, Filomina Hanisi (Roosters), Rikeya Horne (Dragons), Ellie Johnston (Dragons), Tommaya Kelly-Sines, Shirley (Seli) Mailangi, Nita Maynard (Roosters), Sereana Naitokatoka, Taina Naividi, Christine Pauli (Dragons), Tiana Penitani (Dragons), Katrina May Phippen, Tess Staines, Maddie Studdon (Dragons), Mareva Swann, Simaima Taufa (Roosters), Botille Vette-Welsh (Roosters), Jamie Anne Wright.

Talking point: Inaugural Eels coach Dean Widders will be hoping most local players will put their hands up to return to where it all started after taking on his first leading role in the NRLW. The club's five marquee signings include Jillaroos trio Tiana Penitani, Botille Vette-Welsh and Simiama Taufa, along with NSW representatives Filomina Hanisi and Kennedy Cherrington.

Soward pleased after finalising NRLW squad

St George Illawarra Dragons

Gains: Emma Tonegato (rugby sevens), Madison Bartlett (Warriors), Quincy Dodd (Roosters), Keele Browne, Tegan Dymock, Kody House, Taliah Fuimaono, Shellie Long, Page McGregor, Aliti Namoce-Sagano, Rachael Pearson, Natassja Purontakanen, Alexandra Sulusi, Renee Targett, Chantel Tugaga, Holli Wheeler, Janelle Williams.

Re-signed: Kezie Apps, Shaylee Bent, Keeley Davis, Elsie Albert, Teagan Berry, Jaime Chapman, Talei Holmes.

Losses: Sam Bremner (pregnancy), Jade Etherden (Eels), Steph Hancock (Titans), Rikeya Horne (Eels), Ellie Johnston (Eels), Isabelle Kelly (Roosters), Georgia Page (Knights), Christine Pauli (Eels), Tiana Penitani (Eels), Jessica Sergis (Roosters), Maddie Studdon (Eels), Shontelle Stowers (released).

Unsigned: Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa'amausili, Mahalia Murphy, Shakiah Tungai, Maddison Weatherall.

Talking point: Jamie Soward takes over as coach in his first major mentoring role since retirement. The Dragons are among the hardest hit in recruitment this season but are still putting together a strong squad. The introduction of the female Dragons Academy is set to help usher through the next generation.

Sydney Roosters

Gains: Isabelle Kelly (Dragons), Jessica Sergis (Dragons), Chante Temara (Broncos), Samantha Economos (Warriors), Shawden Burton, Olivia Higgins, Olivia Kernick, Mya Hill-Moana, Atasi Lafai, Lauretta Leao-Seve, Taylor Mapusua, Tayla Predebon, Otesa Pule, Simone Simone, Leianne Tufuga.

Re-signed: Corban Baxter, Keilee Joseph, Jocelyn Kelleher, Yasmin Meakes, Brydie Parker, Hannah Southwell, Zahara Temara, Sarah Togatuki. 

Losses: Kennedy Cherrington (Eels), Quincy Dodd (Dragons), Filomina Hanisi (Eels), Bobbi Law (Knights), Nita Maynard (Eels), Shanice Parker (pregnancy), Kaitlyn Phillips (Broncos), Taleena Simon (retired), Simaima Taufa (Eels), Botille Vette-Welsh (Eels), Roxy Murdoch (Broncos).

Unsigned: Charlotte Caslick, Vanessa Foliaki, Grace Hamilton, Melanie Howard, Amelia Mafi, Kiana Takairangi.

Talking point: Well-respected coach John Strange steps into the main role after being an assistant to Jamie Feeney last year. Strange has been instrumental in putting together the Central Coast Roosters feeder system and is expected to blood players from the region.