Lois Forsell sees new signing Georgia Roche as a major asset for Leeds Rhinos women
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Roche, the 2018 Woman of Steel, joined Rhinos from Castleford Tigers last October and pulled on a blue and amber jersey for the first time in last week’s 26-0 pre-season win over Warrington Wolves at Headingley.
“It was always going to be difficult for Georgia, playing in the halves, because Courtney [Winfield-Hill, Rhinos’ first-choice scrum-half] wasn’t playing,” Forsell said.
“Tasha Gaines did a really good job for us, but she didn’t play a lot of games at half last year so she was always going to be finding her feet, the same as Georgia was with new players.
“It was good because it allowed people to play off Georgia and learn how she does things. She did well and she seemed to enjoy running out at Headingley.”
Keeping Warrington scoreless was a good sign from Rhinos’ defence and Forsell said they will be doing more work with Roche on attack as they build up to their season-opener against Huddersfield Giants in the Betfred Challenge Cup on Sunday, March 13.
“Going into last week’s game we didn’t really focus on any good ball,” Forsell added.
“We only had six weeks in pre-season and there’s a lot to get right before you look at throwing the ball around.
“It was always going to be about doing the basics and getting some game time under her belt in Leeds colours.”
Of Rhinos’ performance overall, Forsell said: “We were rusty, no doubt about that and it has given us a lot to refine and work on in training.
“It has given us some video to review and look at what everyone can get better at, rather than looking at things we did in the previous season.
“There was loads of positives to take from it, but I’m certainly looking to see a big rise in standards over the next four weeks.”
Winger Sophie Nuttall, who was injured in last year’s Grand Final defeat by St Helens at Headingley, suffered damage to an ankle.
Forsell said: “There’s no break, she’s on with her rehab’ now and, hopefully, it won’t stop her being part of the team for the start of the season.”