Women's Super League set to resume after 18 months

554 days since the last game in women's rugby league's Super League - Leeds' win over Castleford in the Grand Final - this Sunday it's finally back.

The entire 2020 season was cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic and this year's competition promises to be even bigger and better. Two new teams have entered the league - the Huddersfield Giants and the Warrington Wolves.

This Sunday's opening round of fixtures sees reigning champions Leeds Rhinos entertain York City Knights as part of a double-header featuring a local derby between Castleford Tigers and Featherstone Rovers. Both games will take place behind closed doors at Sport Park Weetwood, Leeds, whilst at Warrington’s Victoria Park the Wolves take on Wigan Warriors and Bradford Bulls will play St Helens in the other Round 1 fixtures.

That final game will see England's vice captain Halifax born Amy Hardcastle make her debut for St Helens against the club she left Bradford.

Amy Hardcastle Credit: ITV Calendar

It promises to be a big year for the women's game with the return of Super League, a Yorkshire v Lancashire origin game in the summer and the World Cup in this country in Autumn.

This week Amy paid a visit to Illingworth rugby league club in Halifax to pass on some tips to the youngsters. In less than ten years Illingworth has grown it's girl's section from zero to over 70 spread across five age groups.

Illingworth girls rugby league club Credit: ITV Calendar

A recent report commissioned by the Rugby Football League claims that since 2017 participation in women's rugby league has increased by 53%. The challenge now is to maintain that progress post pandemic.

It promises to be a big year for women's rugby league. And the success of the Super League and World Cup could well be measured at clubs like Illingworth.