The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have bolstered their Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership squad for 2022 as part of the club’s eventual pitch for a NRLW licence – which could be as soon as next year.
The Sharks have signed three Sky Blues State of Origin players for next season – outside back Sam Bremner, and forwards Holli Wheeler and Shontelle Stowers – just a week after the Wests Tigers announced Kezie Apps and Jess Sergis were joining their club.
Bremner and Wheeler are Jillaroos, while Stowers played for the Wallaroos and Australian Sevens in rugby union before switching codes.
“They are really good signings for us – we’re building quite nicely,” said Sharks Development and Pathways manager, Glenn Brailey.
“For us we’re keen to obtain a NRLW licence as soon as we can, so we’re building towards that with the players we’re recruiting. But first we’d like to win a Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership.
“We understand there’s a points system and sometimes it’s hard to get all your marquee players on the field.
“I know the girls have a big workload this year. But having all those marquee players allows you to sit some out and still maintain a quality squad each week.”
The Sharks have also signed NSW Under 19s player Rueben Cherrington, where she will join older sister and Origin debutant this year, Kennedy Cherrington.
Bremner, who is due to give birth to her second child in the coming days, is targeting a return to the field with the Sharks in April and won’t be involved in the first NRLW season starting in February. A second season will happen later in the year.
The Sharks already boast a host of NRLW talent including captain Corban Baxter, Maddie Studdon, Quincy Dodd and Tiana Penitani.
“Corban has been our leader for a long time now but you don’t need to have a ‘C’ against your name to be a leader,” he said.
“We have some great leaders here with experience and Corban knows that and shares the workload – it’s one of her best traits as skipper.
“We’ve got a lot of young girls transitioning from Tarsha Gale (Under 19s) to Harvey Norman NSW Women’s so we train them together in the pre-season.
“The young girls bring youthful energy and the older girls bring experience and mentorship,” Brailey said.