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NSW Sky Blues rule the roost in NRLW

Members of the triumphant 2022 Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues team will fill the captaincy roles at four of the six NRLW clubs, with the new season kicking off this weekend.

“That’s a pretty fair strike rate,” Sky Blues back-rower Olivia Kernick told as she welcomes Origin teammate Isabelle Kelly as the new captain at the Sydney Roosters.

“I think it’s so great and it shows there are a fair few NSW players dominating the NRLW competition, which is only right because the Blues are the best!”

Alongside Kelly, Kezie Apps remains captain at the St George Illawarra Dragons for a fifth year, the Parramatta Eels have added Tiana Penitani as co-captain with inaugural club skipper Simaima Taufa, and the Newcastle Knights have named new co-captains Millie Boyle and Hannah Southwell.

All six players were part of the Sky Blues 20-14 win over the Maroons at Canberra’s GIO Stadium in June.

Boyle brings the experience of winning three NRLW premierships with the Broncos to the Knights, while Southwell was a member of the 2021 champion Roosters side.

“I didn’t sign up with Newcastle to be captain – that was not my goal – but it’s a huge honour,” Southwell said this week as the Knights prepare to host the Broncos in Round One.

“It’s something I’d always aspired to be but didn’t think it would happen so soon.

“To be co-captain with Millie is pretty cool. I think we’ll work well together. It will take pressure off me; take pressure of Mills; and allow us to both focus on playing our footy.”

Penitani labelled Taufa as “the best player in the world” as the Eels prepare for the Roosters on Saturday 20 August.

“It’s an honour and I’m really excited. There’s so much talent in our sport,” the 26-year-old told the website.

“We have a big job to close out the 2022 season and I hope ‘Mimes’ can teach me a few things.

“The respect she holds is incredible. I really value her qualities and they’re priceless. She wears her heart on her sleeve. She speaks through her actions.”

Sky Blues and Dragons hooker Keeley Davis has always admired Apps’ leadership, and is pleased to see other Origin teammates showcasing that talent.

“It’s very impressive having that many Sky Blues in the top role,” Davis told

“It just goes to show how strong NSW is with its competitions and players. We’ve got plenty of leaders in our current group and I’m sure more are coming through.”

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New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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