View from the Pitch: Courtney Hill - Tougher games an indication of how Women’s Super League teams have ‘stepped it up’ this year

Courtney HIll. PIC: Leeds Rhinos RLFC
Courtney HIll. PIC: Leeds Rhinos RLFC
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WE HAD a patchy start to the season, but we’ve enjoyed a few good wins in the last few weeks, including the Challenge Cup tie against Warrington last weekend.

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Leeds Rhinos women's team coach, Adam Cuthbertson. PIC: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Leeds Rhinos women's team coach, Adam Cuthbertson. PIC: Alex Whitehead/SWpix.com

Regardless of who you play, the Challenge Cup always offers you the difficult situation of playing knock-out rugby league every round.

It doesn’t matter who your opponent is or where they are on the ladder, form doesn’t count for anything and you always have to step up for those games.

So it has been really nice to have the Challenge Cup mixed into our Super League season and we have managed to build some good form.

We will need it in the semi-final away to St Helens. Being current holders of the Cup, we want to keep our two hands on it for as long as we can and Saints are standing in our way at the moment.

Aussie tennis ace (and friend of Leeds Rhinos' Courtney Hill), Ashleigh Barty, plays a backhand shot during her second-round singles match against Venus Williams at  the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club - which she went on to win. PIC: Morgan Harlow/Getty Images

Aussie tennis ace (and friend of Leeds Rhinos' Courtney Hill), Ashleigh Barty, plays a backhand shot during her second-round singles match against Venus Williams at the Nature Valley Classic at Edgbaston Priory Club - which she went on to win. PIC: Morgan Harlow/Getty Images

We haven’t played them yet this year and it will be a difficult game, particularly on the road.

They look to be an improved team on last year and have racked up some really big scores so far, but I have all faith in the girls. We are building and starting to hit our straps.

It will be a great match and whoever the two teams are that meet in the final at Bolton, it will be a wonderful game and occasion.

For the players involved it will be a great experience to play before the men’s semi-finals and to be part of what the RFL are trying to make into a real event across the board.

We’ve got the league to concentrate on first and we are away to Bradford Bulls on Sunday which is a game I am really looking forward to.

When we played them at Odsal last year, in our first Super League game, I wasn’t an official part of the squad at that point and I stood and watched, in the rain, from the sidelines.

I remember standing there thinking what an iconic pitch Odsal is and – apart from the weather – I really wanted to play that day.

I am looking forward to getting the chance this weekend and I and all the girls are excited about it.

Bradford are another improved team on last year. I think a change in coaching staff has injected some real enthusiasm into their squad and a derby clash like that brings out the best in everybody.

It’s also a big weekend for the Leeds Rhinos men’s team with their important game coming up against Catalans on Sunday.

They are having a tough year, but we are behind the boys all the way and we hope they can turn things around.

It is a funny sport, one win leads to two and two to three. Hopefully they can somehow get a bit of a flurry coming into the back end of the season because the worst thing in sport is when you get to the last couple of fixtures and your destiny lies in the hands of other teams and their results. Fingers crossed they can do enough to remain in their Super League where they belong.

We have got plenty of faith in them and, with our coach Cuthbo being part of their team, we have got an extra reason to cheer the boys on.

I will be keeping a close eye on Wimbledon when it starts on Monday.

When I played cricket in Australia before coming over here – and taking up rugby – one of and the girls I played with at Brisbane Heat was Ash Barty.

Like me, she changed sports and she’s now the world number one in tennis.

I spoke to her the other day and a lot of us cricket girls are really happy for what she has achieved.

Since the French Open and Birmingham last weekend it has really blossomed for her and we’re so pleased for her, waving the Aussie flag for us.

She was at Lord’s for the cricket earlier this week (I hope being number one in the world she got free tickets, because she deserved them). She was pretty chuffed about that, especially seeing Australia win.

I’ll be cheering her on at Wimbledon and hopefully we’ll see some more Aussie success.

It’s always great to support fellow Aussies and when you can call them friends it’s even better.