As a result, the NRL threw up several options to get broadcasters over the line, including a three-game Origin series for the women, an international Origin, a Jillaroos v New Zealand match or an all-stars style match up.
Last month, it was announced 20 women would be contracted by the NRL so they could compete with the money on offer in cricket, AFLW and rugby sevens.
About 35 elite female players have continued to train with NRL staff in a bid to be ready when the season returns.
Both the Roosters and Warriors have said they will not compete in the NRLW if funding is not provided outside the club. The Broncos and Dragons are committed to returning to the women’s game for 2020.
The Warriors have already applied to the New Zealand government to help fund the women’s game and their junior teams.
RLPA boss Clint Newton said the women’s elite game was vital in providing pathways for rugby league. He was in full support of the NRLW turning to the government for funding.
“Obviously we would be in support of that if they would be able to provide opportunities and/or funding to give the women a chance to play rugby league,” he said.
The most likely scenario for the game would be a return to the 2018 format of the NRLW, which had double-headers instead of more costly standalone games.
Before the pandemic, the NRLW expected to see an extended premiership season as well as a potential move to a three-game Origin.
Interim NRL CEO Andrew Abdo confirmed last week that women’s rugby league would be included in discussions as part of the new broadcast deal, which could be announced as early as next week.
“The women’s game is a priority and something we’re all very passionate about,” Abdo said on Friday. “It has been part of the discussions and remains a priority for us but we haven’t finalised what their schedule looks like this year and that will be something we will finalise in the coming weeks.”
Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.