Leeds Rhinos women’s success brings glory to the sport

Despite defeat at the Women’ Super League Grand Final on Saturday, interest in the game for women has soared in Yorkshire.

By Katie Lyons and Zoe Merry

After equalising 16-16, Wigan was handed a penalty at stoppage time which subsequently ended in a heart-breaking loss for the Rhinos.

According to ‘England Rugby’ the number of women enjoying the contact sport has increased by over 10,000 since 2013.

After just one year of being a team, the women’s Rhinos have triumphed, managing to secure the top place in the league and win the Challenge Cup Final.

Despite being pipped to the post by Wigan at the Super League Grand Final at the weekend, the ever increasing success that the women have seen has inspired girls across the country to take up the sport.

Interest in the game has progressed so much that women are expected to start getting paid for playing professionally in the next two years.

This is something that was unheard of until the recent development in interest from viewers and sponsorships alike.

Madison Laverick played for the Rhinos in Saturdays match, and believes the sport has developed in the past few years.

She said: “We’ve got headcounts of about 1,200 and if that doesn’t sum up how much its come on, how professional the game has become I really don’t know what does.”

Photo by Gary Beevers. Madison celebrates rugby league victory.

Dean Gladhill, programme organiser and manager for East Leeds club, supports the idea at the rhinos success is boosting the growth of the sport in the local areas.

He said: “What the rhinos foundation do, coming into the communities and working with schools certainly helps… now to the point where we’ve got eight super league teams”.

This popularity is a ground breaking leap towards levelling the playing field and removing the gender stereotype of rugby being a sport for men.

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