How Leeds Rhinos Dannielle Anderson is leading front-line battle against Covid-19

LEEDS RHINOS’ double-winning prop-forward Dannielle Anderson has been on the front line of the battle against 

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 6:00 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 1:56 pm

Known for her 80-minute stints on the field, Wakefield-born Anderson has been putting in long shifts in her housekeeping role at a care home.

The 24-year-old powerhouse is proud to be helping keep residents safe during the pandemic even though that means, unlike some of her team-mates, she has been unable to devote extra time to rugby training.

“At the beginning, the early stages were quite worrying,” Anderson – who played in Rhinos’ Challenge Cup and Grand Final wins over Castleford Tigers last year – recalled of the two months since coronavirus shut down the country.

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LEADING THE LINE: Danielle Anderson of Leeds is tackled by Rhiannon Marshall of Castleford. Picture by Isabel Pearce/

“As time goes on I am getting more used to it and keeping safe at work; it is not as bad as people may think.”

A lack of personal protection equipment has been one of the big concerns for health and care workers during the crisis, but Anderson said: “We are getting provided with that so we are all right on that aspect of it.

“That’s good because it causes less people to worry if you have got the right stuff to wear.

“You don’t expect anything as bad as this; obviously it is new to everybody, so it is just learning about how to deal with it and stopping it from getting worse and how to protect the people who are living there, as well as yourself.”

Danielle Anderson faces up to Wigan's Vanessa Temple during the 2018 Super League Grand Final at Manchester Regional Arena. Picture: Bruce Rollinson

Anderson works in a residential and dementia care home and admitted recent weeks have been tough on the people she cares for.

“On the residential side they know what’s going on, but it’s a bit harder for the people with dementia,” she explained.

“All of a sudden people have stopped coming in – visitors and family – so they are probably struggling with it a bit more.

“It is hard to explain to them because they don’t really understand, as much, what is going on.”

TEAM-MATES: Danielle Anderson and Sophie Robinson

The pandemic has highlighted the crucial nature of work in care homes and similar sectors and Anderson said the weekly ‘clap for carers’ is appreciated.

“It is nice that everyone’s recognised for the work we actually do in the care sector,” she stated. It is nice to get that recognition, not that we want it – it is our job and we wouldn’t be doing it if we didn’t want to do it.

“If you don’t work in the care sector you don’t really know what it entails. I think people now are understanding just how important our job is.

“We are looking after people who are vulnerable and keeping them safe.”

Coronavirus caused all rugby league in this country to be suspended in mid-March, just two weeks before the end of pre-season.

Anderson said: “It is frustrating, but I am lucky that I played in the Origin games so I had a couple of run-outs. For it to suddenly stop, without us knowing when we’ll be going back, is frustrating and annoying. We’ve been working hard through pre-season and raring to go and, all of a sudden, it was taken away.”

Anderson is pessimistic about the prospects of any play in Betfred Women’s Super League this year. She added: “At first I thought ‘maybe’, but now I am thinking how are they going to fit it all in?

“Personally, I think it’s doubtful. I don’t know all the details, but they are saying restaurants and other places aren’t going to open until July, so I don’t know.”

Though they can’t meet face to face, Rhinos’ players have been training at home and keeping in touch via social media.

“We have a couple of apps on the go,” Anderson confirmed. “When you do an individual training session you log it on the app.

“And, when you’ve completed it, it pops up to everybody else’s phone so they can see what you’ve been doing and you can see what they’ve been doing. It motivates you to get going. We’ve also been doing some Zoom sessions and it was nice to see everyone training at the same time.”