SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 25: Hannah Southwell of New South Wales takes on the defence during the Women's Rugby League State of Origin match at the Sunshine Coast Stadium on June 25, 2021 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

At this week's football briefing, NRL's head of football elite competitions Graham Annesley was questioned on the immediate future of the NRLW.

With no clarity on how the 2021 season will take shape, Annesley said the competition is facing a challenge, but did not suggest the NRLW would be forced to be abandoned at this point in time.

“There are no suggestions of cancelling it. We’re absolutely committed to it and maintaining the integrity of the competition,” Annesley said.

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 10: CEO Graham Annesley speaks to media during a Gold Coast Titans NRL training session on May 10, 2017 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“In many cases, players have commitments to employers and family commitments that make it very difficult for them to go into quarantine or bubble-like situations similar to NRL players at the moment.

“We’re not going to turn it into a nines competition or play it across one weekend. We want to make sure we’ve got a competition that is largely what we had planned for this year.”

Despite reaffirming the competition won't be left out of the spotlight, Annesley's comments haven't hit the note many were hoping for, with Roosters star and newly-appointed NRLPA director Hannah Southwell expressing her concern on behalf of the league.

In an interview with 
The Sydney Morning HeraldSouthwell stressed the consideration NRLW players must be shown ahead of any drastic decisions.

“If I’m honest, the stress of it I know has been a lot on a lot of players,” Southwell said.

“We need to make sure those players with young children are well compensated and taken care of. That’s the main thing.


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“You’ve got to make sure they stay in the game because a lot of those players are mums are quality players and they are just going to lose them. The care factor has to be high.”

Earlier this week Southwell joined
the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans, Christian Welch, Sia Soliola, Dale Copley and Clint Newton on the NRPLA board, becoming the first ever female to do so.

The 22-year-old brought attention back to the difficult opening campaigns the women's competition has faced since it's inauguration, with any further setbacks set to add further tolls to the competition's development.

“Everything we’ve worked for the last couple of years, there’s so much we’ve sacrificed to get it to where it is, it’s so disheartening," Southwell added.
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 22: Isabelle Kelly of the Roosters is tackled by Jessica Sergis of the Dragons during the round three WNRL match between the Sydney Roosters and the St George Illawarra Dragons at Allianz Stadium on September 22, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Kolbe/Getty Images)
"The girls have been through a lot together as a group."

Following the announcement of her induction onto the NRLPA directors board, Southwell expressed her delight to be able to give the women's league a louder voice.

“I’m proud to join the RLPA’s Board and to be able to represent my fellow players at this level,” Southwell said, per NSWRL.

“Establishing a collective agreement for NRLW players is one goal I would love to help achieve through my position with the RLPA.

“However, I also look forward to having a voice on a wide range of matters across the game and continuing my own professional development along the way.”