Newcastle have pulled off the two biggest signings in NRLW history with Broncos stars Millie Boyle and Tamika Upton joining the Knights for the 2022 season.
The club announced their signings on Wednesday afternoon in a major double coup that is set to have a domino effect on the rest of the competition.
Boyle, who was named a joint Dally M medal winner alongside Emma Tonegato in April, and Upton, are among the top five players in the world currently after stellar seasons at the Broncos in the past three years.
Two-time premiership winners at Brisbane, Boyle and Upton will give the Knights, who went winless in their inaugural 2021 campaign, some much needed strike power and a greater presence in the women’s game.
Boyle, 23, has played 13 NRLW games for the Broncos after coming across from a rugby union stint in 2019.
She averaged 198 metres per game during the rescheduled 2021 season earlier this year which included three tries, 14 tackle busts and 116 tackles, and earned her player of the year honours alongside Tonegato.
Upton through the middle with Boyle backing up
"I couldn’t be more excited to arrive in Newcastle and experience what it’s like to run out in a Knights jersey," Boyle said in a statement.
"Everyone knows how passionate this town is about footy and all of the NRLW girls experienced that in round one of the season just finished.
"The team the Knights are building will be very competitive…there’s a good mix of experienced players and really exciting young talent coming through. The season can’t come soon enough."
Upton, 25, is one of the elite fullbacks in the competition who has scored seven tries in 11 appearances with 11 line breaks and six try assists.
"First and foremost I’m coming to Newcastle to get better," Upton said.
"Everyone I have met here on both the women’s and men’s sides are invested in ensuring this team becomes a success and I’m looking forward to playing a small part in that."
Newcastle have undergone a significant overhaul in the short break between NRLW seasons, hiring former Wests Tigers assistant Ronald Griffiths as head coach and mapping out an extensive recruitment drive.
The club is expected to announce more signings in the coming weeks, including at least five premiership-winning Roosters players who are currently playing for the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership side.
For the Broncos, the departures of Boyle and Upton leave a huge hole for the three-time champions to fill ahead of their fifth campaign in August.
It's understood the Broncos have hit the market for replacements with the club set to announce those signings in the coming weeks.
The fifth season of the NRLW will be played under a $350,000 salary cap figure for the first time, allowing clubs to target players financially rather than under a points system as per previous years.