HOLDERS STANNINGLEY will be the underdogs in today’s Women’s Challenge Shield final, but just getting there has been an achievement for the Leeds club.
Stanningley defeated Oulton Raidettes to win the competition, for sides beaten in the first round of the Challenge Cup, last year and will take on Super League team Bradford Bulls at Warrington’s HJ Stadium this afternoon (1pm).
Bulls are the Challenge Cup holders and both they and Leeds Rhinos have recruited players from Stanningley, forcing the Championship side to rebuild.
“We’ve managed to get a team together and get to the final again,” said Stanningley’s coach Darren Wood.
“Bradford are the favourites. They’ve lost players to Leeds as well and they are probably somewhere between where we are and where Leeds, Wigan and Saints are.
“The girls we’ve managed to get in have been playing in the Merit League or at the bottom of the Championship, so it has been a learning curve.”
Stanningley are fourth in the Championship after four wins and two defeats. Wood, who is also coach of Yorkshire, added: “It’s a big game, but we’ve won our last two so we’ve had a good build up.
“Bradford haven’t had it easy with players leaving. That has weakened them, but a couple of players from our team have gone there. We are looking forward to it.”