'We know she’ll do great': surprise twist as Leeds Rhinos confirm England ace Georgia Roche's exit to NRLW

England star Georgia Roche has been tipped for a future Leeds Rhinos return, after her exit to the NRL Women’s (NRLW) competition was confirmed today (Friday).
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Stand-off Roche, who joined Rhinos ahead of last season, was the first Woman of Steel, in 2018 and one of England’s top performers during last year’s World Cup.

She is understood to have signed for Newcastle Knights, though that has yet to be confirmed.

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Roche is the second English-based player heading to the National Rugby League Women’s (NRLW) competition, after York Valkyrie’s Hollie-Mae Dodd, who played with her for Castleford and England.

Rhinos' Georgia Roche is heading to the NRLW. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.Rhinos' Georgia Roche is heading to the NRLW. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.
Rhinos' Georgia Roche is heading to the NRLW. Picture by Ed Sykes/SWpix.com.

“She goes with our best wishes and we know she’ll do great,” Rhinos coach Lois Forsell said.

“It’s credit to our competition and us as a club that we’ve got players of that calibre they are wanting to snap up.

“I am sure we will see Georgia return to Leeds at Headingley at some point in her career. Hopefully it won’t be too long before we see her in blue and amber again.”

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Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe is tipped to join an Australian club. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe is tipped to join an Australian club. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
Rhinos' Fran Goldthorpe is tipped to join an Australian club. Picture by John Clifton/SWpix.com.
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Roche was ruled out of Rhinos’ opening two Women’s Super League fixtures, a home defeat by York Valkyrie and win at Huddersfield Giants, but could play for England against France in next Saturday’s Test at Warrington.

Forsell said: “She has been in talks with the NRLW for quite some time. She has been fully up front with us from the start of that.

“Credit to her, she has been snapped up by an NRLW club. We knew about that before round one and they put an embargo on her playing.

“Hopefully we’ll see her feature for England next week, but her contract states no domestic rugby league.

Rhinos women's coach Lois Forsell. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.Rhinos women's coach Lois Forsell. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
Rhinos women's coach Lois Forsell. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.
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“That’s a shame for her and for us, because we’d have loved to see her run out at Headingley in round one.”

Leeds’ Fran Goldthorp, who has yet to play for Rhinos this year because of England rugby union duty, is also expected to join an NRLW club.