St Helens Women to be paid for the 2024 season

ST HELENS have announced that its Women’s first-team players will receive match payments for the first time during the 2024 season.

Following the team’s formation back in November 2017, Saints’ Women’s side has gone on to lift three consecutive Challenge Cup titles (2021, 2022 and 2023), whilst also winning one League Leaders’ Shield (2021) and a Super League title (2021).

Saints Women created more history in 2023, becoming the first side to qualify for the Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Wembley, after beating York Valkyrie 17-16, courtesy of a last-minute Faye Gaskin drop goal.

The Merseyside club went on to become the first winners of the Women’s Challenge Cup at the national stadium, beating Leeds Rhinos 8-22.

Chairman Eamonn McManus commented on the news, stating: “The news that our Women’s team will be receiving match payments from the 2024 season is deserved recognition for all the hard work of all the players who have got us to this point.

“We have ensured in recent seasons that our women receive top-level coaching, conditioning, and medical support as well as utilizing the training and other facilities at the Club. It is now time that we begin to compensate them to reflect the wide-ranging and increasingly positive impact that they bring to the growth and profile of our sport.

“Our Saints women continue to blaze a trail; they are inspiring more women and girls to play rugby league for St.Helens and forge what should be a bright future for what is such a big part of our club.”

Captain and Head of Women’s Pathways and Performance Jodie Cunningham shared her joy about becoming a paid player at St Helens and said: “We are constantly striving as players and as a Club to further professionalize the elite environment we are building for the women at St.Helens and the introduction of player payments is a huge part of this. To say we are paid for what we offer on the rugby field as athletes now is a really proud moment for me personally.

“However, today’s announcement isn’t just about what this means to us as individuals. It’s about all the young girls that we are making new and better things possible for, and it’s for all the women that went before us in women’s rugby league that weren’t supported and provided opportunities like we are lucky to have now at this great club, and as part of the Women’s Super League.”

St Helens’ CEO Mike Rush added: “Today is a proud moment and the first step in rewarding the women who represent this great club. This is the start of a long journey, like in 1873 and the broken time payments for the men, the reward of match payments for the women is a starting point for our club.

“This has been a process we have worked on a lot to get to, and we wanted to ensure we have got everything we needed to the correct standards such as our; medical provisions, facilities, and even nutrition to have our players be the best they can be. This is a journey and we will continue to do all we can.”

Head Coach of the Saints Women, Matty Smith spoke with pride about seeing his team receive a just reward for their efforts on field and said: “We as a Club are beyond delighted for the girls that they get payment from the Club from this season. During my first year with them, I have seen first-hand how hard they work and they deserve this moment which has been a long time coming.

“To become the first women’s players in Saints colours to be paid by the Club is a big step forward for the women’s game here, and something they should be proud of. I look forward to getting to work with them again and we’re ready for a big 2024!”

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