Leeds Rhinos centre Sophie Robinson knows it is vital that her team gets out of the blocks quickly in Sunday’s Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final.
In their semi-final against York City Knights, the Rhinos found themselves 10-0 down within the opening 15 minutes and had to battle back in the second half to book their place in the Headingley final. Against a side that is as potent in attack and defence as St Helens, a similar start could leave Leeds with no way back. That’s a scenario Robinson, who returned to action this year following a serious leg break, is keen to avoid.
With the Covid-19 pandemic wiping out the entire 2020 season, the Rhinos have had a long wait to attempt to retain the title they won in 2019, so Robinson and her team mate fully intend to make the most of it on the ground they consider their second home after Weetwood Sports Park.
“At the start of the season we set the target of winning the treble,” said Robinson.
“That didn’t happen so going into the semi final we knew how big that game was going to be. You could see with how we came out in second half how much making the final meant to the girls and we had to dig in deep to get there. A lot of the girls probably had to find another 10 percent that they didn’t think they had in them to get there.
“It meant a lot to make a final at Headingley. We did the team run there before the semi-final so we got to see what its going to be like. Hopefully the Leeds fans will come out in numbers to support us and having them there will be huge advantage to us on the day.
“Sunday is probably going to be one of our toughest games we’ve had since forming as a club. Saints are a very good team and have got international players all over the park so from kick-off we have to step up and perform. We can’t play like we did in the first half against York, we need to come out ready.
“That game showed us how we can’t perform on Sunday. We know we didn’t perform to our best ability in the first and if we go into Saints like that it will be a really difficult game for us.
“We know Saints are the team to beat in attack and defence, but we know we have strike all around the park. We know what have to do to beat them, so as long as we click on the day we will be fine.
“Leeds Rhinos are a club that likes to win, so if we finish the season without a trophy we will see it as a disappointment. We know what its like to win, and after the Challenge Cup semi-final, we now know what it’s like to lose a big game as well. None of us will want to feel like that again on Sunday.”
Featherstone and Huddersfield Giants kick off proceedings on Sunday as they battle it out in the Shield Final from 12noon, before the Super League Grand Final between League Leaders St Helens and reining champions Leeds Rhinos takes place at 3pm.
Tickets cost £10 for adults and £5 for under 16, but members and/or season ticket holder of the four teams involved can claim up to two free tickets, with only a £1 booking fee to pay for each ticket. Clubs will email eligible members with a promo code that can be redeemed at www.eticketing.co.uk/rugbyleague.
Women’s Super League Fixtures
Featherstone Rovers v Huddersfield Giants 12:00
St Helens v Leeds Rhinos 15:00 (TV)
Both at Emerald Headingley Stadium