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

Vicky Whitfield says…

YES we have had some big losses in terms of players, but we’ve had some good changes as well.

Beri Salihi is a class fullback and Racheal Woosey was great for us in 2021. We also had Georgia Sutherland join us as a centre mid-way through last season, but she’s moved to forwards for this year and I’m excited to see how she goes. 

We’ve got Leah Burke coming back fit and Jodie Cunningham had a tricky season with injury last year, so that will add to us again.

The dynamic hasn’t changed too much, and any difference is has made has been an exciting one. 

We don’t shy away from setting the bar high and having big expectations. We want all three trophies again and to be the team to beat.

The Challenge Cup is up there, we want it for a fourth year in a row and to get back to Wembley, because it was such an amazing experience last year.

One to watch

BERI SALIHI has been tipped to make the England squad sooner rather than later by Saints coach Matty Smith, who was delighted to bring her to the club from Wigan Warriors. 

A product of the club’s academy structure, the teenager has returned to familiar territory after a spell with the Cherry and Whites in which she caught the eye of many. 

She may still be young, but with so much experience around her at the DW Stadium, she should flourish even more. 

Being handed the number one shirt is a real sign of confidence from Smith, and it’s a decision she’ll be keen to prove right.

Pundit’s view with Danika Priim

THEY may have lost some key players to Leeds Rhinos and York Valkyrie, but St Helens, who are now offering match payments to players, have managed to secure a great signing in Beri Salihi from Wigan Warriors. 

The young fullback was a stand-out player in 2023 for the Cherry and Whites and with Saints losing speedy winger Eboni Partington to York, the need for someone to fill her boots was vital – so this could prove to be the most underrated signing of the season. 

Captain Jodie Cunningham will continue to play a major role at the club after taking the role of head of women’s pathways and performance, as well as remaining as a player. 

After lifting the Challenge Cup in a historic first at Wembley Stadium last August, they will be desperate to build on that by not only retaining it, but building back to the level of performance that saw them secure the treble in 2021.

2024 squad

1 Beri Salihi, 2 Rebecca Rotheram, 3 Luci McColm, 4 Erin Stott, 5 Leah Burke, 6 Zoe Harris, 7 Faye Gaskin, 8 Vicky Whitfield, 9 Tara Jones, 10 Chantelle Crowl, 11 Paige Travis, 12 Emily Rudge, 13 Jodie Cunningham, 14 Naomi Williams, 15 Lucie Sams, 16 Darcy Stott, 17 Pip Birchall, 18 Alyx Bridgem, 19 Katie Mottershead, 20 Phoebe Hook, 21 Amy Taylor, 22 Megan Williams, 23 Gracie Bradshaw, 24 Georgia Sutherland, 25 Danielle McGifford, 26 Emily Baggaley, 27 Hannah Roberts, 28 Erin McDonald, 29 Grace Arrowsmith, 30 Rachael Woosey.

Rugby League World predicts: 3rd

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

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