HOT FAVOURITES Castleford Tigers are concentrating on their own game, but will not under-estimate holders Leeds Rhinos in Saturday’s Coral Challenge Cup decider, says star player Georgia Roche.
Playing at loose-forward, Roche was among Tigers’ try-scorers when they lost 20-14 to Leeds in the final of last year’s competition.
The situation is reversed this time with Castleford going into the game at Bolton as unbeaten Super League leaders and Rhinos being underdogs to lift the trophy.
Tigers swept to a 27-0 win when the teams met in Super League at the Jungle three months ago, but Roche insisted they will not take anything for granted this weekend.
“We haven’t really thought too much about them,” she said of Leeds. “We have focused on our own game and us as a team, but we know they are a good side.
“They are a strong side and good down the middle so we’ve just got to work together as a team to break them down.”
Roche, 18, is one of the stars of the female game, being named the first Woman of Steel and featuring on the shortlist for the BBC’s young sports personality in 2018.
The final, which will be streamed live on the BBC website, is an opportunity for her to showcase the skills that led to those honours, but Roche – who has scored eight tries in six Super League appearances this season – has no intention of letting previous accomplishments go to her head.
“You’ve got to put those things to one side and focus on the game itself,” she stressed. “I try to put that behind me and continue training and working hard on my own game.”
Women’s and girls’ rugby league is one of the sport’s big growth areas with participation levels and crowds at matches both on the rise.
Tigers have been attracting four-figure gates for their games at the Jungle this year and Roche reckons the sky is the limit.
She said: “It is really good, we are getting good support so we are really lucky.
“Hopefully, in a couple of years’ time the crowds will still be growing and more girls will be playing and more of them will see the good things that rugby league has to offer.”