Women’s Super League 2024: Barrow Raiders season preview, player to watch, squad and prediction

Jodie Litherland says…

GETTING the opportunity to play against the best players at the highest level, what’s not to be excited about? 

We all know the top end of this division, against those England internationals, will be tough, but we want to test ourselves against the best. 

We’ve got to look at the games against Featherstone, Huddersfield and Warrington confident we can challenge and pick up some points, but who knows – could there be upsets? We hope so. We definitely don’t want to be a team who are making up the numbers. 

There’s no denying that we are behind some of the other clubs, we don’t have the infrastructure in place at the moment that we would like to, but it’s growing. Now we’re visible, for people to say ‘I want to play for them’. They will see that progression to the elite level because Barrow has a team in Super League.

One to watch

ALICE RUSH returns to the Barrow squad after nearly two years out with a knee injury, much to head coach Amanda Wilkinson’s delight.

An exciting young outside back, Rush showed signs of what she could offer before the long term injury halted her progress, but after a bright showing during the pre-season defeat to Huddersfield Giants, Wilkinson and the Raiders will have high hopes her long spell out of the game can be put behind her and all thoughts turn to her ongoing development.

Pundit’s view with Danika Priim

BY BEATING Leigh Leopards in the Grand Final in 2023, Barrow earned the promotion they have been searching for in recent years, and coach Amanda Wilkinson is confident she can get her team ready for a season that will truly test the squad.

Long journeys for some earlier kick-off times will be an adjustment that both Barrow and other clubs will have to adapt to, but it is one that will see a quality competition arrive in Cumbria.

A trip to Cardiff and a game against Wigan in the Challenge Cup proved Wilkinson’s first test of 2024, with Salford offering the challenge, and a further push before they face Wilkinson’s former club Wigan Warriors in their Super League opener at the DW Stadium.

Stalwarts of the squad Demi Fisher, captain Jodie Litherland and Vanessa Temple will be the ones to watch this season as they make the step up to the top competition.

2024 squad

1 Michelle Larkin, 2 Emma Hutchinson, 3 Leah Clough, 4 Claire Hutchinson, 5 Sam Norman, 6 Demi Fisher, 7 Jodie Litherland, 8 Kelly Friend, 9 Beth Lindsay, 10 Jodie Morley, 11 Emily Stirzaker, 12 Vanessa Temple, 13 Kerrie-Ann Smith, 14 Mia Dobson, 15 Leah Cottier, 16 Hannah Sherlock, 17 Charlotte Todhunter, 18 India Jackson, 19 Amy Sunderland, 20 Laura Mellen, 21 Fran Harley, 22 Maddie Neale, 23 Shannon Parker, 24 Alice Rush, 25 Jodie Crawford, 26 Chloe Capstick, 28 Jazz Callon.

Rugby League World predicts: 8th

First published in Rugby League World magazine, Issue 495 (April 2024)

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