One New Zealand Warriors CEO Cameron George today announced leading rugby league administrator Nadene Conlon has been appointed in a new role to create a development and pathways programme for the club’s planned return to the NRLW in 2025.

Conlon, a pioneering figure in New Zealand rugby league, has a long list of achievements including being the Kiwi Ferns’ inaugural captain in 1995 and the first woman appointed as the Kiwis’ fulltime manager, a position she has held since 2016.

Her appointment as the One New Zealand Warriors’ NRLW academy manager is the result of the club and the New Zealand Rugby League joining forces for the betterment of the women’s game in the country.

“Working with (NZRL CEO) Greg (Peters), we have a shared passion and commitment to strengthen women’s rugby league domestically with the end goal of ensuring the One New Zealand Warriors are in the strongest position possible to return to the NRLW in 2025,” said George.

“In Nadene we can call on unmatched experience and knowledge of the women’s game in New Zealand.

“We’re grateful to Greg and the NZRL for making it possible for Nadene to fill this role with our club as well as still working for the NZRL.”

Conlon has been tasked with creating a women’s development and pathways programme for the club and also assisting in the recruitment area with Andrew McFadden, general manager recruitment, development and pathways.

“Both the NZRL and the Warriors will benefit from this joint approach,” said Peters.

“There’s enormous potential for improvement in women’s rugby league in New Zealand. Playing numbers have increased at a tremendous rate and we need to be better placed to make the most of this.

“Nadene is the ideal person to create a vision and plan for the short-term and long-term future. Ultimately this will benefit the women’s game across the board.”

The One New Zealand Warriors were forced to withdraw from the NRLW during the Covid pandemic in 2021 after being one of the foundation clubs in the competition in 2018.