Six of the stars on show in Sunday’s Women’s Super League semi-finals have been named on an expanded shortlist for the prestigious Woman of Steel award.
Two of the three previous winners – Georgia Roche of Leeds Rhinos and current holder Jodie Cunningham – could win the award for the second time after being selected by an expert panel as two of the best players in the game in 2022.
They have been joined on the shortlist by Cunningham’s St Helens team mate Amy Hardcastle and York trio Hollie Dodd, Tara Jane Stanley and Sinead Peach, who have all been recognised for their contribution to the City Knights securing the BWSL League Leaders’ Shield for the first time.
Performances across the season as well as in Sunday’s matches and the Grand Final – at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday September 18 – will be taken into consideration before the winner is revealed on Thursday September 22.
That announcement will then be followed by a first BWSL Awards Celebration at Old Trafford on Saturday September 24 before the men’s Betfred Super League Grand Final – when the Woman of Steel will be joined in a special pitch parade by the winners of the Young Player of the Year, Coach of the Year, Top Tackler and Top Points Scorer awards.
“This is the first time we’ve announced a shortlist of six, but that’s a fair reflection of the level of competition to be crowned Woman of Steel for 2022,” explained Thomas Brindle, the general manager of the Betfred Women’s Super League and chair of the Woman of Steel voting panel.
“It is also reflected in the quality of players who have missed out on the shortlist. The panel debated long and hard to narrow down a long list of 15 players who had received votes, which is an encouraging sign of the increasing depth and competitiveness of the elite Women’s game – and great news for England as we prepare for the World Cup.
“The structure of the season means we have time to include performances in this weekend’s BWSL semi-finals at Headingley, and then the Grand Final itself, before the panel reconvenes to select the winner.
“We also thought it was important to introduce awards to recognise the outstanding Young Player and Coach for the 2022 season, and to recognise the leading tacklers and point scorers, mirroring the equivalent awards that have been established as part of the Betfred Super League’s Man of Steel awards.
“Having those awards announced and presented at Old Trafford on Grand Final day will further raise the profile of the Betfred Women’s Super League, at the end of another outstanding season.”
The voting panel includes four members of the media who have provided more coverage than ever of Women’s Rugby League in 2022 – Rugby League World editor and Women’s Rugby League correspondent for League Express Lorraine Marsden; Kyle Amor, who has been a regular summariser for the BBC, Sky Sports, The Sportsman and Our League; Jenna Brooks of Sky Sports; and Sharon Shortle of the BBC. They were joined by members of the England coaching and support staff.
Woman of Steel 2022 – Shortlist
Jodie Cunningham (St Helens)
Hollie Dodd (York City Knights)
Amy Hardcastle (St Helens)
Sinead Peach (York City Knights)
Georgia Roche (Leeds Rhinos)
Tara Jane Stanley (York City Knights)
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