Ten takeaways from the last round and thoughts on the round to come, by Angela Powers
Points galore – and two duck eggs
That sense of anticipation before the first game of the season was heightened because we really had no idea how the new sides would fare…and then it all kicked off. Big score lines anyone? Never saw that coming. Wigan and St Helens scored a massive 94 points between them and conceded a big fat zero. When these two meet it’ll be an unstoppable force hitting an immovable object. Stand well back.
Pompoms for the boys
All eyes were on Bradford as they began the defence of their title, and the club did a great job building up the clash against the Leeds Rhinos. Their game was the main event, the men’s match before just the curtain raiser. They did look grand waving their pompoms as the girls emerged though. Lovely gesture.
Pain stops play
St Helens’ game against Featherstone was abandoned by the referee after two lengthy stoppages for what looked to be serious injuries. Luckily Pip Birchall of St Helens and Chloe James of York City Knights were found to have no lasting damage.
No love lost
Amy Hardcastle was another injury victim who had to be taken to hospital after being hurt playing for Bradford against Leeds. She’s fine now but she wasn’t very happy at the time. It was her ex teammate Lois Forsell who hauled her down in the tackle, and she didn’t seem to be very forgiving when Lois appeared to be enquiring after her wellbeing immediately after she hit the deck.
Sky’s the limit
The media stepped up to the plate (to use a metaphor from another sport) in their coverage of the opening games, with lots of previews and colour features in print and broadcast. The highlight though had to be appearance of Jodie Cunningham as a guest pundit on Sky Sports coverage of the Widnes Hull FC game. No tokenism, no blokeyness, just one ex-player-turned-broadcaster asking a current league player for an opinion. And she did brilliantly. Hurry back to the field of play Jodie, let’s see you in action again soon.
Talking of girls on film…well, women on telly…Lois Forsell was yet again a fantastic ambassador for the game, this time on the BBC Super League Show presented by Tanya Arnold. Lois has found herself in the spotlight more and more and she’s doing a fabulous job selling the game. She hung back after her game finished against Bradford to high-five young girls waiting for a selfie. Now, that’s a role model.
Adam lost for words
A quick word for a fella…asked just before the half time hooter what he was going to say to his Leeds team at half time, Adam Cuthbertson looked a bit flummoxed before saying “I don’t know, I’ve never done one before!’. A reminder that it’s a learning curve for many, not just the women on the pitch.
Castleford had to sit out the first round, given a bye because, well, there are only seven teams and you can’t play yourself. They’ll be like unleashed, er, Tigers by the time they face York City Knights away this Sunday. The home side will want to quickly wipe out their memories of the match at St Helens. Makes for a great rugby league tie.
Ditto Bradford. They’re champions for a reason and they will be fed up of licking their wounds after that loss to the Rhinos. A chance to show the home crowd their better side. Saints might have something to say about that though. If you can’t get there it’ll be live streamed by Bradford. No excuse for missing out.
And there’s more!
If you are lucky enough to be resident in the red rose side of the big hill and can’t get to see those two Super League ties, there’s a couple of crackers in prospect in (what once was) Lancashire. Wakefield Trinity travel to Wigan St Pats and Widnes are at home to Barrow in the Championship. At least two of those clubs have Super League 2019 ambitions. Let’s see how they fare against two great established sides. Bring it on!