'They'll smash it': Leeds Rhinos duo will be huge stars in Australia says England teammate

England ace Amy Hardcastle reckons her Leeds Rhinos clubmates Georgia Roche and Fran Goldthorp will “smash it” in Australia.
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The duo are both heading to the National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) competition, with outside-back Goldthorp having been confirmed as a North Queensland Cowboys player for the next two seasons and stand-off Roche expected to join Newcastle Knights.

Neither has featured for Rhinos this year, but Hardcastle - an off-season recruit from St Helens - played alongside both for England at last year’s World Cup and was a teammate of Roche in last Saturday’s 64-0 hammering of France.

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Along with York and England forward Hollie-Mae Dodd, they are the first Super League players to sign for NRLW clubs and Hardcastle predicted: “I think they are going to do class out there.”

Georgia Roche on the ball for England against France. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.comGeorgia Roche on the ball for England against France. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com
Georgia Roche on the ball for England against France. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com

She said: “I am so happy and so proud of them. They have got these opportunities and they deserve it, they have worked incredibly hard and I can’t wait to see them smash it out there.”

Roche and Dodd both made a farewell appearance in the mid-season Test and Hardcastle, who played at centre for England, felt it was a worthwhile exercise, despite the one-sided scoreline.

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She insisted: “We need more games under our belt, we have got to start gelling as a team and we’ve got to try the combinations.

Amy Hardcastle scores England's 11th try to complete a huge win over France. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.Amy Hardcastle scores England's 11th try to complete a huge win over France. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.
Amy Hardcastle scores England's 11th try to complete a huge win over France. Picture by Olly Hassell/SWpix.com.
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“We need these international games to be able to do that. We had a few new combinations so it was just about keeping it simple and finding our feet again.

“There were parts when we went a little bit away from our structures, but the message came on about recomposing, sticking to our process as a team and not going away from that and playing as individuals.”

Though a noted try scorer, Hardcastle didn’t cross the French line until the final moments, when she grabbed the 11th and last England touchdown.

“It was nice to get over,” she admitted. “I waited nearly 80 minutes, but for me now, it is about doing the little fundamentals right - it might be good support play, being an option and not getting the ball, to cause a distraction, or whatever.

Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe moves in to tackle Amy Hardcastle, then of St Helens, during last year's Super League semi-final at Headingley. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe moves in to tackle Amy Hardcastle, then of St Helens, during last year's Super League semi-final at Headingley. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe moves in to tackle Amy Hardcastle, then of St Helens, during last year's Super League semi-final at Headingley. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
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“I have scored a few tries in my time and I can accept that, I am a team player and that’s why I play rugby. If I don’t get over the line, it doesn’t matter.”

To underline that point, winger Leah Burke, who played outside Hardcastle, scored four tries in a player of the match performance.

The pair are former St Helens teammates and Hardcastle said: “Leah is a class player and that’s what it’s about - she needs that space so you can’t be greedy as a centre, you have to let her have her time and that’s what makes us a good combination - we know each other and how we both play.”