Sunday sees the St. Helens Women’s Team take on Bradford Bulls at the Provident Stadium (2.00pm – admission is £5 for adults & £3 for under 16s).
In the first round of fixtures this season, they succumbed to a 32-16 home defeat to the Leeds Rhinos. Bradford were unable to cope with Leeds in the first 20 minutes of their opening game and will be looking to bounce back against the Saints. Head Coach Mark Prescott said:
“We watched the game back and there were certainly some positives but also areas to work on, so we are really looking forward to getting back on the field against St. Helens”
These sentiments were echoed by prop forward Lauren Hickey who hoped the team would be better prepared for Sundays game. The Bulls have to contend with the pressure of being favourites, after securing the Women’s Super League and Challenge Cup titles in 2017. They have also lost several players since last season through retirements and transfers, including Lois Forsell, the 2017 Grand Final player of the match, who has swapped the Bulls for the Rhinos.
In contrast, St. Helens ran out comfortable 40-0 winners against the York City Knights. The match was abandoned after 2 serious injuries, thankfully the news on both ladies has been positive, and hopefully there won’t be any long injury layoffs. Pip Birchall, who was injured for the Saints, should be back in consideration in a couple of weeks which is fantastic to hear.
The Saints Ladies put on some fantastic attacking moves, marshalled brilliantly by scrum half Faye Gaskin who claimed a hat-trick, with winger Leah Burke also crossing the whitewash 3 times. Mark Brennan, St. Helens Ladies Head Coach, was not resting on his laurels after the convincing win:
“After a good win at the weekend the players have been back in training and working hard as they continue to improve. We did some good stuff with ball in hand and finished some nice plays but we know we can get better.
“It’s always good to challenge yourself against the Champions and we’re looking forward to it. Bradford had a tough game on Sunday against Leeds so we need to make sure we are on our game as we are expecting to see a response.”
The only change Brennan makes to his 19 man squad is enforced, with Claire Mullaney coming in for Pip Birchall. Hopefully Saints can make it 2 wins from 2.
Saints: Carys Marsh, Chantelle Crowl, Charlotte Hill, Claire Mullaney, Dawn Taylor, Emily Rudge, Faye Gaskin, Isabelle Rudge, Katie-May Williams, Leah Burke, Lizzie Gladman, Naomi Williams, Rachel Yeates, Rebecca Rotheram, Roxy Mura, Sarah Lovejoy, Tara Jones (captain), Vicky Whitfield, Zoe Harris