Women’s RL: Trailblazing Leeds Rhinos eye up second shot at treble

Caitlin Beevers runs through for Leeds Rhinos' second try against Wigan in the Grand Final.
Caitlin Beevers runs through for Leeds Rhinos' second try against Wigan in the Grand Final.
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LEEDS RHINOS’ trailblazing women’s side will be back better and stronger next year, teenage full-back Caitlin Beevers insists.

Rhinos won the Challenge Cup and finished top of Women’s Super League in their first season, but were beaten 18-16 by Wigan Warriors in last Saturday’s Grand Final.

Woman of Steel, Georgia Roche.

Woman of Steel, Georgia Roche.

That was only their third defeat, two of those being against Wigan, and Beevers predicts they will learn from the experience.

“Hopefully that’s one of many Grand Finals to come and we can make up for it and the treble is on again for next season,” Beevers said.

“You definitely need some losses, it brings you together as a team and shows you what you don’t want to feel like.

“Wigan have every right to feel proud of themselves.

“We will take it on the chin, learn from it and go again next season.”

Despite the loss, Beevers, who is set to make her England debut against France later this month, said: “It has been a fantastic season. We are a brand new team and it has been absolutely amazing to see what we can do. We have fought really hard and two out of three isn’t bad.”

Rhinos led 6-0 early on, but were 8-6 behind at half-time and 16-6 down with 15 minutes to go before Beevers scored a spectacular long-range try to spark a dramatic fightback. They levelled the scores in stoppage time, but a late penalty goal handed the title to Wigan.

Beevers, who celebrated her 17th birthday two days before the Grand Final, reflected: “That wasn’t how Leeds Rhinos play.

“Credit to Wigan, they were the better side on the day. They wanted it more, we weren’t moving up as much as we should do and we weren’t playing as Leeds Rhinos.

“The pressure must have got to us on the day, but that’s no excuse. We played well late on, but we should’ve been like that for the whole game.”

Meanwhile, Castleford Tigers’ 18-year-old loose-forward Georgia Roche, who was named Woman of Steel last week, has been shortlisted for the BBC’s young sports personality of the year award.