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Three-time premiership winner Tamika Upton plans to stay at Newcastle in 2023 and hopes several of her teammates can do the same ahead of their NRLW title defence next season.

Upton, who was part of the NRL’s historic new Westpac partnership announcement last week, is enjoying a well-deserved break after recently withdrawing from the Jillaroos squad for their World Cup campaign, which kicks off on Thursday morning AEDT. 

The 25-year-old has remained in Newcastle since the Knights clinched their maiden NRLW title and wants to be part of future success alongside the likes of Millie Boyle and Southwell sisters Hannah and Jesse.

For Jesse in particular, who stole the show at 17 during her maiden NRLW season, Upton is eager to play more games alongside the rising teenager.

“She’s the future of the NRLW,” Upton told

“From the first minute she stepped onto the field she showed what she was capable of. Hopefully she stays in Newcastle and yeah, I absolutely love Newy and want to stay as well.

Tamika Upton poses with Knights counterpart Tyson Frizell at the Westpac partnership announcement in North Sydney last week.
Tamika Upton poses with Knights counterpart Tyson Frizell at the Westpac partnership announcement in North Sydney last week. ©Supplied

“It’s going to be very interesting. Everyone is technically off contract at the moment and the minute the CBA gets done, it will be an open slather.

“Hopefully it all gets sorted soon so we’ve all got a bit of certainty for next season.”

The Karyn Murphy medal winner said she had no regrets over pulling out of the World Cup due to a niggling calf injury that saw her miss two weeks during the NRLW season.

Upton was named less than 24 hours after putting in a player of the match performance against the Eels on Grand Final day before she withdrew the following day.

Westpac joins forces with NRL and NRLW

“My body’s been breaking down a little bit,” Upton said.

“I haven’t played a full season and it’s been a big year. With this calf injury I wanted to take some time away and build my body back up.

“I’m really thankful for it at the moment. I’ve been relaxing, which has been really good after such a big year. I’m feeling better than ever and can’t wait for next season.”

With the NRLW set for expansion in 2023, Upton believes this year’s schedule will hold players in good stead to prepare for the increase in training and games for an 11-week competition.

“We were sort of testing it this year and that was the hard thing, there were two different seasons so you’d stop then start and you had club and Origin in between,” she said.

“We all learned a lot from that. I know I learned a lot to keep myself fit and healthy.

“It’s only going to be beneficial for the future. We saw the quality go up especially in that second season so the more we play the better it is.”

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