Rugby teams make history on Headingley turf

GAME: Charlotte Booth takes the field for Leeds Rhinos Women's first home game at Emerald Headingley.
GAME: Charlotte Booth takes the field for Leeds Rhinos Women's first home game at Emerald Headingley.

Emerald Headingley stadium was the stage for a historic sporting double.

The famous sports’ ground was the venue for the first home games of Leeds Rhinos Women and Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s Physical Disability Rugby League (PDRL) team.

BREAK: A Leeds Rhinos PDRL player attacks against Castleford.

BREAK: A Leeds Rhinos PDRL player attacks against Castleford.

The double header was a day to celebrate for the Leeds Rhinos Foundation charity, which continues to break down barriers to make sport accessible for everyone.

The charity’s development work in schools and community clubs has seen a rise in the number of female players. And local players came along to take part in a pre-match festival and to cheer on the city’s first Women’s Super League team.

Dannielle Anderson, who played in the 40-12 win against Castleford Tigers Women, said: “To play at Emerald Headingley in front of a crowd of over 1,000 was incredible and we are grateful to all those who showed up to give us their support.

The former Oulton Raidettes player added: “What was really pleasing was to see so many girls’ teams involved in the pre-match festivals and then cheering us on in our first home game. I hope through seeing our players’ rugby league journey from playing for local clubs to representing the Rhinos inspires more female players to get involved.”

Leeds Rhinos Foundation’s PDRL team followed the women’s victory with a 56-14 win over the Tigers’ PDRL side. Back in February Leeds’ PDRL team competed in the UK’s first PDRL game against Warrington Wolves Foundation.

Since then the PDRL concept has grown even more, with teams from Castleford and Wakefield now running their own PDRL teams.

Dan Roberts, captain of Leeds Rhinos Foundation PDRL, said: “It meant everything to me to represent the Rhinos and play on the Emerald Headingley pitch. I’ve had a season ticket here for years so to actually get out and play was fantastic for me and it really meant a lot.”

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