JILLAROOS star Ruan Sims and her sister CJ, both from Gerringong, have been included in a 40-strong elite women's representative squad.
The squad, which included players from NSW, Queensland and even Northern Territory-based Meg Ward, will take part in training camps as well as receiving regular access to top-level coaching, medical and high-performance staff.
NRL elite programs manager Brad Donald said limiting the squad to 40 was a tough task.
"The reality is, there are more than 40 players throughout Australia and many more in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific Islands that are playing fantastic rugby league – up to national and international standard," Donald said.
"The enthusiasm, commitment and positive attitude of every single player attending the women's training camp on the Gold Coast last month, as well as many more women playing in local league competitions, fills me with great confidence that this will be a fantastic year for women's rugby league, with a big future ahead."
The selection marks another step forward for the women's game – one that will include an NRL club-based competition for the first time in 2018.
Senior manager of the NRL women's elite program Tiffany Slater, said all signs were pointed in the right direction.
"Women's rugby league has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time and collectively, we have a long way to go," Slater said.
"I congratulate and commend the first 40 players on their selection in the elite squad for 2018 and in doing so, securing their position at the top of their game."
2018 elite Australian NRL squad: Jasmin Allende, Kezie Apps, Chelsea Baker, Heather Ballinger, Annette Brander, Brittany Breayley, Sam Bremner, Ali Brigginshaw, Karina Brown, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Vanessa Foliaki, Jayme Fressard, Talisha Harden, Kate Haren, Kylie Hilder, Rikeya Horne, Kody House, Isabelle Kelly, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Asipau Mafi, Corban McGregor, Caitlin Moran, Rona Peters, Lavina O'Mealey, Talesha Quinn, Jessica Sergis, Taleena Simon, Ruan Sims, CJ Sims, Amie Solomona, Moriah Simon, Shontelle Stowers, Maddie Studdon, Simaima Taufa, Zahara Temara, Tahlulah Tillet, Elianna Walton, Sarah Walker, Meg Ward and Rebecca Young.