11 May 2022
The Sportsman confirm increased coverage of Betfred Women's Super League
The Betfred Women’s Super League returns this weekend with a superb new trophy for the champions St Helens to defend – starting with a derby against Wigan Warriors at the Totally Wicked Stadium which will be shown live and exclusive by The Sportsman on their Rugby League YouTube channel (2pm kick-off).
The Sportsman’s expanded coverage of the BWSL in 2022 will also include a new monthly magazine programme, hosted by Christy McAllister – starting on Thursday evening (May 12) at 6pm, and featuring interviews with players from St Helens, Wigan, Leeds Rhinos and York City Knights.
The BWSL will have a higher broadcast profile than ever this season, as Sky Sports have already announced coverage of the fixtures between St Helens and Leeds on Thursday June 23, and Leeds’s home game against Wigan on Thursday July 21 – as well as the Semi Finals at Headingley on September 4, and the Grand Final at the Totally Wicked Stadium on September 18.
This follows a record-breaking weekend for Women’s Rugby League, after St Helens beat Leeds Rhinos in the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Elland Road in front of a crowd of 5,888, the highest ever for a Women’s game in this country, and attracting a peak viewing figure in excess of 300,000 on BBC2.
The new Betfred Women’s Super League trophy has been commissioned by the Rugby Football League from Fattorini, the artist-craftsmen who have been linked to the sport since the production of the original Challenge Cup in 1897, and more recently reunited the Rugby League World Cup trophy with the cockerel it had been missing since 1968.
Its design has been inspired by the Betfred Super League trophy, which was first presented to St Helens in 1996.
The BWSL has expanded to 12 teams for 2022 with a late change of format, following the decision of the 2019 League Leaders Shield winners Castleford Tigers to drop to Group 2 in the interests of long-term development.
That leaves five teams in Group 1 – St Helens, Wigan Warriors, Leeds Rhinos, York City Knights and Huddersfield Giants, with the Knights and the Giants clashing in this weekend’s other opening fixture.
The teams will play each other home and away, with the top four qualifying for the Semi Finals.
In Group 2, there are now seven teams, with BWSL newcomers Barrow Raiders and Leigh Miners Rangers both at home for their opening fixtures on Sunday – Barrow against Warrington Wolves, and Miners against Wakefield Trinity.
Bradford Bulls play Featherstone Rovers in the other opening fixture in a repeat of the first BWSL Grand Final in 2017, with Castleford kicking off the following weekend at Featherstone Rovers.
The top four teams in Group 2 will also qualify for Semi Finals, leading to a Shield Final at the Totally Wicked Stadium on September 18 as part of a double header with the BWSL Grand Final – and the winners earning promotion to Group 1 in 2023.
There will be no relegation from Group 1 this season.