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The Harvey Norman Jillaroos have unveiled a new coaching staff in what is shaping as one of the most important years for the national women’s team.

Queensland women’s coach Brad Donald has been appointed as Jillaroos head coach and will be supported by New South Wales Performance Programs Manager Jamie Feeney as assistant coach.

Former Jillaroos legend, Karyn Murphy will also support the team in a mentoring and development role.

Donald, Feeney and Murphy bring more than three decades of professional playing and coaching experience to the Jillaroos, who are preparing to defend their 2013 Rugby League World Cup title at the end of 2017.

Donald said he was humbled by the opportunity to coach the Jillaroos, with the team in a fantastic position to capitalise on increased audience, sponsorship and pathways developed over the past few years.

“Women’s rugby league is the fastest growing area of our game and the Harvey Norman Jillaroos have been building a strong focus and commitment both on and off the field for a number of years,” Mr Donald said.

“All the players who have represented Australia have been fantastic ambassadors for our game and it is an exciting time to be part of the squad, with a World Cup to defend in a years’ time on home soil.”

NRL Head of Football, Brian Canavan congratulated Brad and Jamie on their appointments and said the future of the Jillaroos would only continue to strengthen.

“It was a fantastic occasion to witness the double-header Test Match in Newcastle earlier this year, when our Kangaroos and Jillaroos players stood proudly side by side,” Mr Canavan said.

“The Jillaroos are in very capable and experienced hands with the new coaching staff and I wish them well as they embark on the next chapter in our game.”

A squad of 30 current and up-and-coming Jillaroos players will assemble on the Gold Coast this week for a training camp, ahead of their first assignment in New Zealand as part of the 2017 Auckland Nines in February.