Sometimes, if we’re really lucky, wishes can come true, and York City Knights assistant coach Kay Rollinson is certainly hoping that is the case come Saturday afternoon.
A comment written on a Christmas day out with her family a couple of years ago may have seemed a long shot at the time, but it is now within touching distance for the coach who first played open age rugby for the club in their former guise when she was just 15 years old.
Back then, Women’s Rugby League was played in small, local parks, witnessed only by one man and his dog. Now fast forward to 2021 and Rollinson is ready to coach her home town club onto the pitch at a Super League Stadium to play in front of live BBC cameras as York prepare to contest the Women’s Challenge Cup Final for the first time.
“Two years ago, my partner and I went out with the kids and took them to see Father Christmas,” said Rollinson.
“There was a wish tree there as well that you could write down your wishes and then hang them on the tree. I wrote three things on my wish card – for York City Knights Ladies to do the treble, win the Super League and win the Challenge Cup.
“I am now just 80 minutes away from saying that one of those wishes has come true and that is amazing.
“No matter the result on Saturday, I am just mega proud that the girls have got to a Challenge Cup Final. There has been a lot of hard work put in over the last few years. The club has been fantastic with us and supported us all the way.
“I can’t quite believe just where the game is now.
“Who’d have thought 15 or 20 years ago that Women’s Rugby League would be where it is right now.
“I was always envious of the way Women’s football has grown over the last 10 year or so and I just hope that Women’s and Girl’s Rugby League, follows suit. We’ve got Betfred on board now and it’s great that they can see what a great game we have and are wanting to showcase it. There are so many opportunities for female players now and I just want to play a part in getting them in the right place to take them.”
If Rollinson’s Christmas wish is to come true through, the City Knights will have to find a way past joint Super League table-toppers St Helens, who have been in red hot form this season.
“There is a real buzz around the place right now,” added Rollinson.
“We knew some of our previous results didn’t reflect our performance, but we have a real self-belief now and that has brought confidence to everyone.
“We have got nothing to prove. We know we’re good enough on our day to win things and the quality we’ve brought in recently has helped lift the other girls to the level we knew they were capable of.
“I always say to our girls that nothing is given to them, they have to go out and earn it. If they want to be the best, they have got to beat the best.
“Yes on paper, Saints will be favourite and they have class across the team. But our girls know their jobs and know that if they do their jobs right for 80 minutes then we won’t be far away.”