Garth Brennan is confident Newcastle can become a "powerhouse" of the women's game.
As the Newcastle Knights eye their first NRLW campaign, the club's head of pathways said the women will have an edge over rivals when they move into the club's "world-class" Centre of Excellence facility at Broadmeadow in the new year.
The Knights entered a side in NRLW for the first time this year. The 2021 competition was postponed due to COVID and will now be played over five rounds starting with a triple-header at McDonald Jones Stadium on February 27, when Newcastle meet the Parramatta Eels.
The Knights announced on Thursday that Casey Bromilow had been appointed NRLW head coach. He takes the reins from Blake Green, who has joined the NRL coaching staff.
"He's passionate about the girls game," Brennan told the Newcastle Herald.
"He's been involved with our Tarsha Gale [under-19] programs for a while now and they've been successful programs. Last year they went through undefeated and got knocked out in the semi-finals.
"He knows the [NRLW] girls. He was involved with them when they were here, working with Blake Green and putting the squad together, so he has an in-depth knowledge of the girls in the squad."
Bromilow has been the Knights elite pathway programs manager for five years and was looking forward to being part of a milestone moment for the club.
"It's super exciting and a very proud moment to be appointed as the Knights NRLW coach," Bromilow said.
"I want to personally thank Blake Green, who has passed on an exciting playing roster and well-established programs to take up a great opportunity with our NRL full-time squad.
"We've got a very good core group of players and we're really proud of the squad we've established."
For the first time the Knights will also field a team in the open-age NSWRL Women's Premiership.
"Before the girls have had to travel to the Central Coast and that's why the Central Coast Roosters are very strong - they're full of Newcastle girls," Brennan said.
"But now we're going to have a pathway here in Newcastle, so the girls don't have to travel. They can play and train in their own backyard and represent their community."
Brennan hopes the club can eventually attract some experienced home-grown talent back to Newcastle, such as NSW and Australian player Hannah Southwell, who plays for Central Coast in NSWRL and the Sydney Roosters in NRLW.
"As a club, we are really valuing the girls avenue, so much so that the new Centre of Excellence opens in the new year and the NRL and the NRLW will have exactly the same facilities," Brennan said.
"They will be some of the best facilities I've ever seen at the game. I have no doubt within the next couple of years Newcastle will be a powerhouse in the girls game as far as rugby league goes with our facilities, how we're going to value the systems and the coaching that they're going to have."
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