Upton First 2023 NRWL Signing For Newcastle Knights

Reigning NRLW Premiership winners the Newcastle Knights have secured star fullback Tamika Upton on a mammoth five-year deal.

The 26-year-old is the first signing unveiled by Newcastle ahead of the May 24 contract deadline for the top 24-players in the squad.

Upton’s deal is the longest signed by any player in the senior women’s competition to date and means the Karyn Murphy Medalist will remain in red and blue until at least the end of the 2027 season.

The three-time Queensland representative joined the club in its inaugural year scoring five tries in as many appearances and taking her career try scoring tally in the NRLW competition to 17 in the process.

Upton said her experience at the Knights had been fantastic since the day she arrived.

“Last year I was honoured to be a part of such a close-knit group of players and coaches, and I felt my game really develop under Ronald’s coaching,” Upton said.

“With the squad the Club is assembling for 2023 and beyond, and the passionate support the team gets from the Hunter region, it made sense to commit my long-term future here.”

“I am really excited to have my next five years sorted and can’t wait for the 2023 NRLW season to get started.”

Making the announcement today, the club spruiked the fullback’s leadership potential. It comes amid reports skipper Millie Boyle could defect to the Sydney Roosters after just one season with the Knights.

Director of Football Peter Parr said Upton would spearhead Newcastle’s charge into the future.

“We believe Tamika is arguably the best player in the game and we are thrilled that she is the first player to sign on for the long-term – she won’t be the last,” Parr said.

“Tamika brings supreme athletic ability and football smarts to our team. But she is far more than that. She is a leader, a great community contributor, and a wonderful role model.”

“Being a leader on the field and in the community is something I take very seriously, and I am looking forward to growing in this space with the Knights,” Upton added.

The 2023 NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership will see an additional four teams (Sharks, Cowboys, Raiders, Wests Tigers) join in a new-look 10-team league.

Clubs are slated to begin pre-season training on May 29 ahead of the season opener set for July 22 with the draw expected to be revealed later this month.