A SCHOOL visit from development officer Lois Forsell inspired Shannon Lacey to take up rugby league. Now, a few years later, she is playing alongside Forsell for Leeds Rhinos’ women’s team.
Lacey, 18, will be part of the Rhinos side aiming to make it five wins from six games when they take on York City Knights at Weetwood Sports Park on Sunday (2pm).
Rhinos are second in Women’s Super League, behind St Helens – the only team to beat them so far – on points difference.
“I am a Rhinos fan, I’ve been one all my life so it is really good to get to play for the club I have supported,” said Lacey, who plays as a utility-forward.
“I went to Leeds West Academy and Lois came into school, like she does now, to do some coaching.
“I really enjoyed it and she got me to go to my local amateur side, Stanningley and I played there from 13.
“I trialled for the [Rhinos] under-19s originally, then decided to trial for the open-age and I’ve been playing for them from the beginning of the season.”
Both Rhinos and York are newcomers to Super League.
“I’ve played against Super League sides before, Bradford Bulls and Castleford, when I was at my amateur club,” Lacey recalled.
“But since the likes of Leeds, Wigan and Saints came in it has really taken off.
“The men’s teams are really backing it, which is good and we’re really fortunate because we use the same facilities - from training, physios, sports massage, we have got access to everything.”
York are bottom of the table, having lost all five games so far, but Rhinos – coached by Adam Cuthbertson – were without a game last weekend and Lacey said they are determined to build on their 58-0 win over Wakefield Trinity in the Challenge Cup two weeks ago.
“We’ve been training really hard this week and we are looking forward to it,” she stated.
Meanwhile, Tigers women will be in action at the Jungle on Sunday (5.30pm). They face St Helens after the men’s Super League game against Hull KR.
East Leeds take on Whitley Bay in Championship One on Sunday and Oulton Raidettes are at home to Wakefield Trinity in the Championship (both 2pm).