WOMEN & GiRLS RUGBY LEAGUE

11th October 2019, 07:00 | womens_super_league

Betfred Women's Super League Grand Final Preview

Betfred Women's Super League Grand Final Preview

The Betfred Women’s Super League season reaches its climax this Friday, as Leeds Rhinos and Castleford Tigers face off for the fourth time this year – this time with Grand Final glory at stake at St Helens’ Totally Wicked Stadium.

Castleford finished top of the pile, claiming the League Leaders’ Shield with 13 wins from a possible 14 and an unbeaten home record. The youngest side in the competition have been a force to be reckoned with this year, registering 625 points in a series of attacking masterclasses over the course of the season. Lindsay Anfield’s side won both league meetings with the Rhinos, but crucially for Leeds, they triumphed in the Challenge Cup Final at Bolton in July.

Castleford captain Claire Garner can’t wait for another shot at glory:

“It’s exciting stuff, we’re really looking forward to it. It was a tough game against Wigan, but we managed to grind out a win and hopefully we can take that into our game on Friday.

“We’ve already won the League Leaders’ Shield, we won it at our home ground so it was good for the fans to get down and watch us win it, but we won’t do ourselves justice unless we turn up and put a performance in on Friday.

“It would mean absolutely everything to lift the trophy, it was nice to lift the Shield so it’d be nice to lift another piece of silverware, but we have to perform for 80 minutes.”

Friday’s opponents, Leeds Rhinos, finished third in the league this year, winning 10 of their 14 games. The Rhinos were the first team to defeat the Tigers in 2019, stunning them 16-10 on their way to back-to-back Challenge Cup titles. Adam Cuthbertson’s side booked their place in the Grand Final in a close semi-final encounter with St Helens, overturning a 14-point deficit to win 18-14 last Sunday.

Courtney Hill, who was crowned as the second winner of the Woman of Steel award last weekend, is looking for more of the same from her side on Friday:

“We showed massive character in the second half against St Helens. Any game is tough to come back from a deficit at half-time, we knew with the wind we had to work really hard and the girls did a great job defensively.

“I was so proud of the girls’ efforts, Sunday was a massive whirlwind day, but that was certainly my highlight – for the girls to get over the line.”

On the 2019 season, Hill said: “I think the competition has lifted a level from last year, to be playing in some lovely stadiums, clubs are getting great support and wonderful followings and regardless of which supporters are there, they’re Rugby League supporters and to play in front of crowds brings great energy.

“Looking towards Friday, although it’s two Yorkshire teams playing over in Lancashire, we hope that fans of both clubs and Women’s Super League in general can make the effort to get across to St Helens.”

The game will see another piece of history made in Women’s Rugby League, as Sky Sports will provide exclusive coverage of the Women’s Grand Final – the first Betfred Women’s Super League fixture to be televised, and Sky’s first live domestic Women’s match.

On being live on Sky Sports, Garner said: “A lot of the girls are nervous about it, but it’s getting some great exposure for our sport and not many people can say they have played Rugby League that has been live on Sky Sports, so it’s only a good thing.”

Following the Women’s Super League Final on Friday, the Championship and League 1 Women’s Finals will take place at the Manchester Regional Arena on Saturday 12th October, with free entry for all spectators.

The League 1 Final will kick-off at 11:30am, as league leaders Keighley Albion take on second placed Cutsyke Raidettes in another all-Yorkshire affair. The Championship final will follow at 1:30pm, as Warrington Wolves, also league leaders of their respective tier, face off against Perennial challengers Barrow Ladies.