CASTLEFORD TIGERS’ women are aiming to maintain their Challenge Cup final form for the rest of the Super League campaign.
A young Tigers side led 14-6 at half-time before being edged out 20-14 by Super League leaders Leeds Rhinos in a classic final at Warrington’s HJ Stadium.
Castleford, who visit Challenge Shield winners Bradford Bulls on Sunday, are fourth in Super League, but coach Lindsay Anfield believes the experience of last weekend’s showpiece will spur her side on.
Tigers have set their sights on a place in the Grand Final and Anfield said: “From my point of view it [the Cup final defeat] is a bit of a blessing in disguise in a way, looking forward.
“They might just train a bit harder now, they might want it a bit more, if that’s possible.
“I think going towards the play-offs at the end of the year it might actually pay dividends.”
Anfield believes Tigers will also be better for their big-game experience. She added: “If you look at the score there was nothing in it and it’s good for them to experience that kind of a game, so I am not too disappointed.”
The decision to stage the finals day – which featured four West Yorkshire teams – at Warrington sparked controversy, but Rugby Football League chief executive Ralph Rimmer wants to see more women’s games taken to elite venues.
He said: “As the sport grows we are working with clubs and partners, including sponsors, to take more women’s games to top stadia, to increase the reach and profile of the sport with live streaming and media partnerships and to explore more double-headers – including with the men’s competition.
“We want to take women’s rugby league to the next level and the magic of the Challenge Cup is key to this.
“We will consult further with the passionate and committed stakeholders in the women’s game and announce some exciting plans for 2019 shortly.”