Raiders express interest to lodge submission for NRLW entry

The Canberra Raiders have plans to lodge a submission into the Holden Women's Premiership for the 2021 season after receiving an expression of interest from the NRL earlier this month.

Raiders CEO Don Furner confirmed the club will attempt to join the Broncos, Dragons, Roosters and Warriors in the NRLW with a proposal over the next two years as interest in the women's game continues to grow.

Participation in two forms of women's rugby league – tackle and tag – has risen by more than 20 percent in the nation's capital over the past 18 months.

"Yes, we are formulating a submission to enter a Raiders women's team for the 2021 season," Furner told NRL.com.

It's understood the remaining 11 NRL clubs have all been given the same offer by the league to respond and express their interest by October 31.

Calls to expand the women's game has risen since last year's inaugural season but the NRL remain cautious about rushing into rapid growth with no changes on or off the field made for the second season of the NRLW competition.

NRL.com reached out to all 12 clubs for a brief update on where they stand for possible inclusion over the next five years.

The Raiders came back most eager with the 2021 season a genuine target.

Newcastle, who will open a brand-new Centre of Excellence facility in 2020, have plans to field a team by 2022.

Manly and Parramatta returned similar responses with an aim for the 2022 season.

North Queensland are aiming to have a team in the NRLW by the 2023 season to coincide with the opening of their Women's Academy.

Wests Tigers are hopeful of having a side in the competition "within the next three years" after forming a successful Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership team this year. 

The Panthers and Titans remain optimistic about forming a team soon but could not give a definitive time frame.

Cronulla, who applied for a licence ahead of the inaugural season, are now understood to have pushed back plans with PointsBet Stadium under redevelopment for the next two seasons.

South Sydney, who also pushed for a licence in 2018, have cited the financial disadvantage of fielding a women's team and want to turn a focus on their NSW state competition team.  

The Rabbitohs have appointed Dean Widders as head coach for that competition for the 2020 season and are likely to revisit plans for a NRLW side in 2023.