Six teams for NRLW in expanded 2021 comp

The NRLW will grow to six teams this season and eight clubs in 2022 as part of the first expansion of the competition.

The NRL will increase its women's competition to six teams this season and eight next year, however the Warriors' involvement is in extreme doubt.

In the biggest shake-up of the competition's structure, the ARL Commission on Friday discussed plans for the growth of the women's game after three years of the four-team competition.

The changes will see an immediate increase of two teams for this season, with the NRL yet to finalise the new clubs.

An announcement is likely next week.

Gold Coast and Parramatta are favourites to join, while Newcastle and Wests Tigers are also in the running.

But AAP has been told the participation of the Warriors looks increasingly unlikely.

They were run by the NRL last year using mostly Australian-based players but could withdraw from 2021.

If they pull out, a third new club will enter this year to ensure the competition goes to six teams.

Founding clubs the Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra and Brisbane are all certain to compete, before another two sides are added in 2022.

The NRL will fund the new clubs on entry, in a bid to ensure their viability as the competition grows.

Canterbury, South Sydney and Cronulla among other teams to have flagged their interest.

The looming changes represent a significant moment for the women's game but also presents massive challenges for new clubs to recruit players and staff.

The pre-season is nine weeks away, while the competition will now start three weeks earlier than first planned.

The regular season will run over five weeks, before semi-finals and a decider on NRL grand final day.

The decision comes after players and clubs had this week pushed for a clearer plan in the women's space after years of remaining stagnant.