Canberra bid increases NRLW enlargement talks | Milton Ulladulla Times

The prospect of further NRLW expansion is back on the cards after Canberra launched their bid to enter the competition in 2023. The Raiders bosses on Monday confirmed their plans to enter the competition, and remained incredibly optimistic about their chances. The NRL will run its first six-team competition for women early next year after the 2021 season was postponed due to COVID-19. The competition could then potentially go to eight teams for another season at the end of 2022, depending on whether new teams are ready in time. However, the Raiders’ application for a side remains in 2023, meaning the potential for further expansion for a third contest in a row. Alternatively, NRL leaders could hold out and wait until they grew from six teams until 2023 with the Raiders one of those sides. “We were told we have to bid, but it would be unusual for us not to be accepted,” said Raiders CEO Don Furner. “I do not expect there to be opposition to that bid (for 2023), because we have the facilities, junior registration numbers and finances.” And they want a regional team. So we are perfectly positioned to fill that hinterland in the NSW country. “So I can not imagine we would not get the license.” Canberra will formally conclude their bid early next year, but used Monday’s launch to make their case with local Katrina Fanning Shield crucial to their case. The ARL commission is due to meet on Friday, and although women’s expansion is not currently on the agenda, it could still be a talk. Wests Tigers, Cronulla and South Sydney are among other sites that have looked at the potential of having NRLW teams. Canterbury’s eyes are also on 2023 after Newcastle, Gold Coast and Parramatta joined founding clubs Brisbane, Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra for the upcoming season. The Warriors have been dropped due to COVID-19 and the situation is unclear as to whether they will return in the coming seasons when the borders are fully reopened. Australian Associated Press

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