FOR ME the most pleasing thing about this year has been the way Women’s Super League has grown and shown it has a bright future.
It has been a fantastic season for the women’s game in general, not just because of the success we’ve had with the Rhinos.
The way it has been run and perceived has taken it to a new level and I think there is a real opportunity for the sport as a whole to develop on the back of it.
I was thinking about the future last weekend, when I was sitting in the stand at Old Trafford after travelling across Manchester from the women’s game at the Manchester Regional Arena.
How good would it be if the Grand Final was more of an event, with an undercard including the women’s match? We talk about rugby league as a family sport and most people probably regard it as a blue collar game. A Grand Final double-header would be a great way to create an event and a day out.
I’d like to see that happen more often generally next year, especially in the summer when the grounds are drier and the weather’s warm enough to be outside for four hours or so.
There is an opportunity to create more of a day out for families and it would give fans more bang for their buck. If you look at other sports, the ones that get most attention and make the most money do it.
I know England has its own culture, but in the NRL a game is an event and it’s spread over four hours. I think that gives better value for money than just an 80-minute game. We don’t have a reserve grade over here, so combining the men’s and women’s competitions is the ideal way to go about it.
My season finally ended last Saturday after the women’s Grand Final. Losing to Wigan wasn’t the result we wanted, but it was a fair outcome on the day.
We didn’t play as well as we can or would have liked to, but even so I am proud of the girls and what they’ve achieved this year.
Winning the Challenge Cup and league leaders in our first season is something special and we will be better next year.
Most of the men’s team have been off since the week after the Toronto game, but I carried on because I wanted to see things though with the women.
We’re due back in to begin pre-season on November 19 so I won’t be going to Aus this year, though I am going to get away and chase some sun for a few weeks.
It is a long season over here and a short off-season.
Most of the boys get about six weeks off and then we are back into it.
We have a game on Boxing Day and then the trials will start in January and I guess our first league game will be the month after.
Following a year like the one we’ve had, that’s not a bad thing. I am 100 per cent sure we will be a lot better in 2019.
The time off now gives us chance to put everything that has happened this season behind us, but having to watch other teams in the big games, the semi-finals and finals, hurts more than anything else.
When we got to Old Trafford last weekend one of the girls, Courtney Hill, asked me if I had been to watch a Super League Grand Final before. I hadn’t. The last time I was in the stands for a Grand Final was in 1997 when Manly lost to Newcastle on the buzzer.
It was good to see it from a different perspective, from a spectator’s point of view, and it was quite a spectacle, but at the same time it wasn’t a nice feeling and it has made me even more determined to make sure we have a better year in 2019.