Rugby League Nines returns as ‘great way’ for young women’s players to make breakthrough

LEEDS halfback Caitlin Casey believes the upcoming Nines tournament could be the perfect way for the next generation of players to make their mark on the first team.

The group stages of the Women’s Nines return to Victoria Park, Warrington this Sunday, with the Rhinos once again involved and looking to retain the title they claimed in last year’s event.

With many of Leeds first team involved in England training the day before, coach Lois Forsell may select a youthful side to face St Helens, Telford Raiders and Leamington Royals. 

But for Casey, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise to the England set-up after making her senior debut in the Nines in 2022, the tournament could offer others the chance to start out on their own Super League journey.

“With some of us having England training the day before I don’t know what is happening with the squad but I’ll be looking forward to it if I’m involved,” Casey told League Express after Saturday’s 68-0 win over Warrington.

“But the Nines is a great way for some of the younger girls to step up and get a bit of a foot in the door.

“I made my debut in the Nines two years ago so I know that it is a good way for some of those younger players to show what they are all about. 

“It will help to give them a feel and a taste of what the first team is about and what they can expect in the next couple of years.

“It fed me to want really work hard and be involved in the first team the following season and we have had girls like Tilly Davies, Angel Bentley and Tilly Brown training with us and being around this environment. 

“They’ll all be knocking on the door in the next few years so any selection in the Nines will be a reward for them.”

On the day, 16 teams will form four groups of four, with the group winners, plus two wildcards progressing to Finals day on Saturday, July 27.

Play gets underway at 10:30am on Sunday and will run until 4pm.

Group One: Warrington Wolves, York Valkyrie, Leigh Leopards, Widnes Vikings
Group Two: Leeds Rhinos, St Helens, Telford Raiders, Leamington Royals
Group Three: Barrow Raiders, Featherstone Rovers, Cardiff Demons, Hull KR
Group Four: Wigan Warriors, Huddersfield Giants, London Broncos, Salford Red Devils

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,428 (April 29, 2024)

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