Leeds Rhinos coach Lois Forsell proud of her players despite Women's Super League Grand Final loss to St Helens

Coach Lois Forsell had nothing but praise for her Leeds Rhinos players after their season came to a disappointing end yesterday.

Monday, 11th October 2021, 12:52 pm

The Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final proved a game too far for Rhinos, who were beaten 28-0 by St Helens in front of a competition record crowd of more than 4,000 at Emerald Headingley.

It was only Rhinos’ second defeat of the year - the other being against Saints in a Challenge Cup semi-final - and Forsell paid tribute to the way her players have coped with a difficult season.

“I’ve told the girls I am really, really proud of them,” Forsell said.

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The teams take to the field in front of a Women's Super League record crowd at Headingley. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“We have had to adapt this year and we’ve had a lot to overcome - Covid, injuries and playing in a Grand Final with 16 players after Sophie [Nuttall] was injured.

“We’ve had to do that in other games as well, but they have done everything we’ve asked of them.”

With several established players sidelined, a new crop of youngsters have broken into the senior squad.

Forsell stressed: “We’ve got a really good bunch and a lot of young players. It is very much a transitional period for us.

“We had some players in their first Grand Final and I am sure it won’t be their last.”

Saints led only 10-0 towards the end of the third quarter of a hard-fought title decider, but scored four tries in the final 23 minutes to leave Rhinos well beaten.

Forsell reflected: “We started off really well.

“For the first 20 minutes we gave a good account of ourselves, but there were some missed opportunities and we gave ourselves too much to do.

“We didn’t start the second half as well as Saints did.

“We showed some real grit and determination in the last five minutes of the game, but that’s not what you do in a Grand Final - you need to do it for the full 80.”

Nuttall was taken off the field on a stretcher following a long stoppage late in the first half.

Forsell confirmed an ambulance was called as a precaution, but said: “I went to see her at half-time.

“Her mum was with her and she told me she was good to go and ready to go back on the pitch if I let her, so she was in good spirits.”

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