NRLW clubs have returned to a mini pre-season training block ahead of the upcoming 2022 NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership starting on August 20.
Less than four months after the Roosters claimed the 2021 title, which was played in February-April due to the COVID-19 pandemic postponement last year, players return to training for the six-team competition before moving to 10 teams next season.
The Tricolours will be looking to hold onto the trophy longer than the time they've had it for but for the first time in their four-year NRLW history they'll be the hunted by rival teams.
More than 40 players from across the six clubs have earned NRLW contracts for the first time in their careers in a number that has reduced compared to the 2021 competition but is expected to rise again in 2023.
Another dozen players will make their returns to the NRLW after missing the last season due to various reasons like injury, pregnancy or other personal circumstances.
Parramatta have at least 10 rookies in their ranks including former New Zealand rugby sevens star Gayle Broughton, AFLW Carlton player Brooke Walker and young gun Rueben Cherrington, the younger sister of Kennedy.
"I'm excited for a fair few of them. I think Rueben Cherrington is going to come in and add some things and Gayle Broughton as well," Eels coach Dean Widders said.
Widders talks Eels' return to NRLW training
"We did a thorough review of the first season and come up with some great ways we can change the club and keep building.
"Our first season in the competition we could lay some foundations and now we get to add some things on there.
"I thought we were really unlucky [last season] and you look at what the Roosters did from fourth spot, so the competition is very open."
With a unique calendar set for the women's season in 2022, Widders said his staff will approach the next four weeks differently to a normal pre-season in the summer.
"These girls have just come off an NRLW season and into a NSW and Queensland state season so we won't have to go into the tough pre-season slog, it will be more about energising them for what's to come," he said.
"I'm keen to see how it all comes together."
Brisbane, Newcastle, Gold Coast and St George Illawarra all clocked on for day one with most squads training on Monday afternoon.
Players who featured in the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership for either the Sharks or Wests Tigers may be spared a couple of additional days' break.
The Knights have recruited most in the off-season with marquee recruits Millie Boyle and Tamika Upton arriving to the Hunter last weekend.
They'll be joined by a host of former Roosters in Hannah Southwell, Yasmin Clydsdale, Olivia Higgins, Simone Karpani and Tayla Predebon.
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Gold Coast have also been big movers in the player market with former Broncos Lauren Brown, Hagiga Mosby and Roxy Murdoch, Emily Curtain (Eels) and NRLW leading try-scorer Madison Bartlett signing on under new coach Karyn Murphy.
The Roosters have lured Titans pair Destiny Brill and Shaniah Power to Bondi in return while former Dragon Sam Bremner is an astute signing with Corban Baxter announcing her pregnancy in June.
Brisbane have made a host of key signings with Jaime Chapman, Annetta Nu'uausala, Nita Maynard and Brianna Clark among those to be joining the heavyweights.
St George Illawarra have recruited the least in the break as they look to go one better in 2022 but welcome back Dally M medal winner Emma Tonegato and key stars Kezie Apps, Elsie Albert and Keeley Davis.
The Eels and Roosters will open the 2022 NRL Telstra Women's Premiership on August 20 at CommBank Stadium.