This article was first written for and published by NRL.com.
From stand-alone fixtures at Mt Smart Stadium and Leichhardt Oval to big-name players switching clubs and an array of new faces ready to strut their stuff, season three of NRLW is set to be a beauty and it’s only two weeks away.
In total, 15 players have changed clubs, including Maddie Studdon and Brittany Breayley to the Dragons and Hannah Southwell and Tallisha Harden who have gone to the Roosters.
In a reflection of how quickly the NRLW is growing, 35 players who featured in last year’s competition did not get contracts this year.
That means plenty of new faces in 2019 and here’s a couple you should keep your eye on:
Millie Boyle (Broncos)
Millie is dual-code athlete, having played both rugby league and rugby union growing up and most recently playing for the Queensland Reds in the Super W and Test matches for the Australian Wallaroos.
With encouragement from her brother Morgan Boyle (who plays for Manly) and friend Kezie Apps, Millie returned to league this year with exceptional results.
Her performance at the National Championships for south-east Queensland saw her selected for the NSW Blues team where she was a standout, running for 142 metres and ensuring that plenty left knowing her name.
She joins a star-studded Broncos team which boasts Ali Brigginshaw, Chelsea Baker and Meg Ward.
Maddison Weatherall (Dragons)
Maddison is a star of the future and a product of the pathway that NSWRL and the NRL have developed.
She progressed through the Tarsha Gale Cup for Illawarra (where she scored 24 tries in 2018) and was named player of the series in 2019 as the Steelers won the premiership.
She was also selected in this year’s inaugural under 18’s State of Origin clash and played strongly as NSW took victory.
The level of talent amongst the next generation of women coming through was staggering.
To date, it has been Maddison’s age which has prevented her making her NRLW debut, with Dragons coach Daniel Lacey selecting her as a development player.
But Maddison’s time may be this year and I’m expecting big things from this talented young woman.
Kirra Dibb (Roosters)
There were certainly some surprised people when Maddie Studdon’s halves partner was named for this year’s State of Origin series, but Kirra Dibb did not disappoint.
The Blues came from behind to win at North Sydney Oval and Kirra was instrumental in that, setting up the first try for Jessica Stergis with a beautiful cut-out pass.
She has a reputation for having a big boot, which was also on show that night when she kicked a 40-20, giving the Blues field position which resulted in a try to Shakiah Tungai.
All quite incredible for a woman who was overseas for last year’s NRLW and who only returned home to take the game back up this year.
The Tricolours are also a good fit for Kirra considering that she grew up idolising Brad Fittler.
Now that Maddie Studdon has moved to the Dragons, a spot in the halves has opened up for Kirra.
Charntay Poko (Warriors)
When it comes to the Warriors, it was a big choice considering they have several up-and-coming players including rugby Sevens stars Roela Radiniyavuni and Timaima Ravisa who were both scouted in Fiji and have switched codes to play rugby league. Or Jules Newman, who at age 30 made the switch from rugby union just three months ago.
But it was hard to go past Charntay, who made her Test debut for the Kiwi Ferns earlier this year in their dominant win against Samoa.
She will likely partner new captain Georgia Hale in the halves.
At 24, Georgia will become one of the youngest players to lead a top-level side in any sport in New Zealand.