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Three is the magic number: Women's Origin as NRL seeks to avoid farce of 2023, NRLW expansion held

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9th November, 2023
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The NRL is set to expand the women’s State of Origin series to three games in 2024 while keeping the NRLW competition at 10 clubs for another year.

NRL bosses will announce next year’s men and women’s draws as early as next week, with both schedules currently undergoing final tweaks.

The men’s competition will begin in Las Vegas on March 2, while the NRLW will again start later in the year to allow both grand finals on the same day.

But there are significant changes for the women’s structure.

Last year’s Origin series was played over two games with Queensland lifting the Shield based on a superior for-and-against after both teams won one match.

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Emma Tonegato runs the ball for NSW. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)[/caption]

The NRL has now decided against expansion in the club competition for next year, with the most likely scenario remaining two new teams enter from 2025 as loosely mapped out in the collective bargaining agreement.

Further expansion is then likely again beyond that with some clubs pushing for 2026 entry.

Plans are already in place to increase the talent base for further expansion.

The NSW Rugby League is poised to move their women’s premiership into the NRLW window next year, creating a proper reserve-grade competition.

A full U17s competition will also be introduced in the Lisa Fiaola Cup, mirroring the men’s pathways for teenage competitions.

NRLW players will likely be given the chance to play in a NSWRL preseason club competition prior to the Origin series, while Queensland’s State Cup will still operate over the first half of the year.

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