Danika Priim: Leeds Rhinos’ opening day home derby with Wakefield Trinity is fantastic start to season

FIXTURES FOR Women’s Super League are announced today and it is fantastic to start at our home ground, Sports Park, Weetwood, which is a great facility.

Danika Priim.
Danika Priim.

It will really settle the girls into the season and give us chance to get moving.

Our opening opponents, Wakefield Trinity, are new into Super League so it’s a big derby and they will throw everything at us. We played them last year in the Challenge Cup, but they are a little bit of the unknown and it’ll be nice to see what they have got to offer.

We can’t wait. We had our first hit-out last week, against York, a good win and I’m excited about what the squad can achieve this year.

We’ve got lots of different characters and different strengths. We’ve got a lot of utility players now who offer us a lot of options from full-back to hooker. We’ve got a lot more options in terms of interchanges and mixing people up, depending on who we are playing and what style we want to play.

I won’t be ready for the first few games, but I’m back in training after my ACL injury and hope to be available around about round three.

I am really excited, I am back training with the girls as much as I can, though not full contact yet. Hopefully I won’t miss too much of the season.

Super League and the women’s game in general has come so far in a short space of time. This is only Rhinos’ second year and I don’t think people understand just how much Leeds Rhinos are doing for the women’s game.

Leeds Rhinos' Lois Forsell in action for England against Australia during the 2017 Womens Rugby League World Cup.

Gary Hetherington has really invested in it and he takes time to speak to us and has a genuine interest. We’ve also had Kev Sinfield come in and talk about the ‘DNA’ of Leeds Rhinos and what it means to be a Rhinos team.

We are considered on the same level as the men and our expectations are the same in terms of how we train and see ourselves as a team and a club.

We are not professional, in that we don’t get paid to play, but Rhinos Women is very much run as a professional set-up. You don’t miss training, you eat right and do everything a professional should do, without the financial side of it.

Ultimately, the 2021 World Cup has to be every player’s aim and to achieve that you have to buy in and do everything expected of you.

Danika Priim.

At Leeds Rhinos, because we are treated so well and offered so much, what we receive from the club, the coaching, physio, nutrition and so on, is like we are professionals.

The Rugby Football League (RFL) are doing a phenomenal job of raising the profile and announcing the fixtures on International Women’s Day is really pushing that women-in-sport idea. Rhinos have also invited me to be part of the matchday experience in the South Stand this season, which is great publicity for the women’s team.

It wasn’t the best of results last week, but we had a good time and I hope everyone enjoyed the evening.

Matt Horton and I did a bit of player analysis, comparing players on the two teams, looking at head-to-heads, had a chat with a couple of the players and talked about the season so far.

We did some analysis at half-time and spoke to the man of the match afterwards. The gates open at 5.30pm and there is plenty of entertainment in the bars after the game so please come along and have a whole evening’s entertainment, rather than just the game itself.

I will be doing quite a few games this year, along with some of the other women’s team players. It is great for the girls to be included in something like this.

Finally, well done to Rhinos’ Lois Forsell for being named sportswoman of the year at the Leeds Sports Awards. That was fantastic recognition for a brilliant player and person and really well deserved.