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Leeds Rhinos: Rhiannon marshals her troops for tilt at treble

Leeds Rhinos women celebrate their Challenge Cup final victory over Castleford Tigers.
Leeds Rhinos women celebrate their Challenge Cup final victory over Castleford Tigers.
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CHALLENGE CUP glory is just the beginning for Leeds Rhinos’ women’s side, according to forward Rhiannon Marshall.

Leeds, in their debut season, pipped Castleford Tigers 20-14 in a thrilling final to win the knockout competition last weekend.

Rhiannon Marshall.

Rhiannon Marshall.

They are also top of Super League and Marshall insisted a first taste of silverware has made them hungry for more.

Bradford Bulls won the Cup, league and Grand Final last year and, though the competition this season is bigger and tougher, Marshall reckons Rhinos are capable of doing the same.

“We aren’t going to settle for this,” insisted Marshall, who had spells with Bradford and Featherstone Rovers in 2017.

“Bradford deserved it last year; they worked so many years for that.

“For us to come as a new team and do this, it’s fantastic.

“I think we have got what it takes to win the treble, I really do.”

She added: “At the beginning of the season we didn’t know what to expect.

“We played Castleford and got absolutely hammered in our first friendly, so to come back and win the Challenge Cup – it’s fantastic. It is obviously down to the coaching and we have really gelled together, got as fit as possible and it has shown.

“That’s where it has come from, gelling as a team and becoming good friends.”

Marshall was a Cup winner with Bulls last season before joining Rovers and losing to her previous club in the Grand Final.

“I played with Bradford for so many years and we only got loser’s medals,” she said.

“It was nice to win one with Bradford last season and then again this year.”

But Marshall admitted last Saturday’s final at Warrington’s HJ Stadium was too close for comfort.

Rhinos’ errors were punished in the first half as they went 14-6 behind, but they found their feet after the half-time break.

“It was nail-biting,” Marshall reflected. “In the first half I thought ‘what are we doing’?

“Then I think we had a few leaders come out in that second half and thought we just need to work to completions.

“But to say there were just six points in it, it was scary! In the first half we had seven sets where we should have finished and we didn’t.

“We kept knocking on and over-playing. I think Cas in that first half should have put a lot more on us, so we dug deep in our defence and made up for it in that way.

In the second half, we built pressure and the points came. We had a game plan and we stuck to it.”