Falcons eye future with women’s NRL team swoop
The Sunshine Coast Falcons are preparing to spread the organisation's wings with investigations under way into the feasibility of a locally-based women's NRL team.
Falcons CEO Chris Flannery confirmed the club was in the process of exploring options and investigating the costs associated with starting a Coast-based NRLW franchise.
It came as the club opened up expressions of interest to start an under-19s women's team as part of a shift in focus for player pathways.
The Bokarina-based Intrust Super Cup club is set to take a greater interest in youth development as part of a statewide redirection from Queensland Rugby League.
The club will take on a greater role in youth development with under-16s and under-18s, as well as the under-19s women.
The under-16s and under-19s are set to play a shortened competition next year against other southeast Queensland teams, before those players return to local league.
Under-18s will play a longer 6-7 game competition, with pre-season to start in December, while the Falcons will continue with their existing under-20s and Intrust Super Cup programs.
Mr Flannery said the shift would enable more continuity in player development, with the same calls and structures to be coached across all age groups.
He said the club's plan was to establish an under-19s women's team next year which would then transition into a team in the QRL Women's BHP Premiership in 2022 and ideally, an NRLW side up and running for 2023.
Mr Flannery said female participation had been on the rise at a local level and the region's appetite for rugby league and female sport more broadly had encouraged them to pursue the new teams.
The women's State of Origin game at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday was understood to have sold out already and Mr Flannery said the success of the Sunshine Coast Lightning in the national netball competition had shown support was there for elite women's sport.
"We're really excited about bringing a women's team under the Falcons banner," he said.
Players interested in joining the Falcons' under-19 women's team were urged to register their expressions of interest on the Falcons' Facebook page by Friday.