Recent events have led to the possibility of Rugby Sevens players featuring in the next season of the NRLW.
A year-long delay for the Tokyo Olympics, a curtailment of the 2019-20 World Rugby Seven Series, and a shift in this year's NRLW competition to the spring have resulted in the possibility of seeing some olympic rugby gold medalists making a temporary code-switch to play in this year's NRLW competition.
The upcoming NRLW season, scheduled to play this September-October, and the subsequent Women's State of Origin, scheduled for the beginning of November could present a perfect opportunity for the Aussie Sevens women.
Their last competitive match took place during the World Rugby Sevens Series Sydney 7s last February. They currently have no competitive matches scheduled until the Olympic games.
Broncos women CEO Tain Drinkwater has stated that interest has been shown:
"A lot of the rugby sevens girls have reached out to some of the clubs to see if there are opportunities there given their season has been decimated," Drinkwater told NRL.com.
"They're still keen to play footy and be a part of an elite competition prior to the Olympics next year in July. If there's an opportunity to get them involved in rugby league, even if it's just for this year, or create some long-term transitions then that's something we'd certainly look at."
Sevens star and Olympic gold medalist Charlotte Caslick is already in talks about possibly representing the Sydney Roosters. Her code-switch would require a temporary release from Rugby Australia. Her teammate Yasmin Meakes is already playing for the Central Coast Roosters in the NSW Women's Premiership.
As Aussie Sevens contracts are set to expire on August 31, the timing could be perfect for their out of season players. It could also be good to raise the profile of the NRLW. While the league is already rich with talent, the addition of players like Charlotte Caslick, Yasmin Meakes, and Ellia Green would only help increase its appeal.
Jillaroos legend Tarsha Gale agrees with this prospect. When speaking to NRL.com she stated:
"It would be tremendous for the game and it makes sense for the girls. I don't think we can afford to be exclusive when it comes to selecting talented athletes to play in our competition.
"Why knock back the opportunity to have some of the world's best rugby sevens girls playing?"
While the temporary code-switch could be doable for the Aussie Sevens stars, it is not to be taken lightly. Sevens is a game predicated on speed, but also one which includes break downs, and fewer people on the pitch comparative to NRLW. It is, after all, a different code and the quick turnaround could present a challenge for Sevens players to overcome.
However, the Sevens players would arguably be able to keep up with the athletic side of League being that Aussie Sevens athletes are in full-time training regiments, unlike their NRLW counterparts.
Whether the switch will be allowed by Rugby Australia is yet to be seen. While they may be tempted by the opportunity of having their players in match situations, the greater concerns of the possibility of injuries, the necessity to focus on Olympic preparations, and the desire to keep their players in the world of Rugby Union and not League may sway their decision.