Warriors sign two-time premiership winner as NRLW coach

Scott Bailey |

Ronald Griffiths has been lured back to the NRLW to coach the Warriors, who will play in 2025.
Ronald Griffiths has been lured back to the NRLW to coach the Warriors, who will play in 2025.

The Warriors have made their first signing upon returning to the NRLW a major one, luring two-time premiership-winning coach Ronald Griffiths back to the women’s game.

Newcastle’s NRLW coach for the past two seasons, Griffiths opted to pursue a future in the men’s game when he took charge of the Knights’ NSW Cup this season.

But AAP has been told the chance to rebuild the Warriors’ 2025 team from the ground up has brought him back to the NRLW, with a deal to be announced this week.

Griffiths has experience starting a team from scratch.

He moved to Newcastle in 2022 to take the helm of their inaugural women’s season, signing several stars in his first year as the Knights won the premiership.

Newcastle were then able to back it up in their second year under his watch, before Griffiths moved on at the end of last year.

The Warriors job will come with different challenges ahead of their readmission next year, as the competition moves to 12 teams with Canterbury also entering.

The advent of multi-year contracts since 2022 will make building the Warriors roster more difficult, with less marquee talent available to purchase.

But the Warriors will bring with them a significant pathways system, in a country where rugby league is firmly on the up.

The Auckland-based club were part of the NRLW’s inaugural competition in 2018, but travel complexities caused by COVID-19 forced them withdraw in 2021.

Meanwhile Griffiths’ appointment comes with him considered some chance of taking on the NSW women’s State of Origin role, if it becomes available.

Current coach Kylie Hilder is expected to front the NSWRL board in coming months to review this year’s series loss, which marked the Sky Blues’ third in four years.

St George Illawarra coach Jamie Soward has already put his hand up to replace Hilder if she does not hold onto the job, while Ruan Sims, Kate Mullaly and Brett Kimmorley could be other options.