FOR now it's touch football, but eventually Knights CEO Phil Gardner hopes NRL Women's matches will be the curtain-raisers on game day at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Knights launched on Monday their men's and women's squads for the second NRL Touch Premiership, which starts next month, and will include two new teams in the Roosters and the Warriors.
Touch is one of Australia's booming participant sports and NRL Touch Football CEO Jamie O'Connor said it had "definitely" grown since forming a joint venture with the 13-man professional code.
"NSW Touch specifically are reporting 27 per cent increase in junior participation in the last 12 months," O'Connor said.
"Since the strategic alliance was struck between us and the NRL six years ago, we've grown on average at about five per cent [per year] ... the link into the NRL had a significant impact."
Gardner said touch was the ideal pathway to eventually grow a talent pool capable of sustaining a Newcastle team in the NRL Women's competition.
"We're building female facilities in the Centre of Excellence, so we're looking at that," Gardner said.
"The big issue with women's rugby league is the shortage of athletes.
"The NRL is taking a very sensible approach in terms of growing the number of teams. When that next happens, we'll certainly be talking to them about being involved."