Kelsey Gentles in action for Castleford Tigers
After an 18-month absence, the Women’s Super League clubs will finally get to show what they can do when the new season kicks off on Sunday.
There is plenty to get excited about, including two new teams joining the competition in Warrington Wolves and Huddersfield Giants.
Castleford Tigers, who were finalists in both the Challenge Cup and the Grand Final in 2019, kick-off their campaign with a local derby against Featherstone Rovers, and winger Kelsey Gentles cannot wait to get back on the field.
“I’m so excited, I don’t think I am going to be able to sleep!” said Gentles.
“It feels like we have been waiting so long and now it is so close – I am buzzing for it. I really cannot wait.”
Since 2017 when the Women’s Super League competition was launched, girls and women playing community rugby league has increased by an incredible 53%, a stat that has not surprised Gentles.
“Those stats were not shocking to me because you can see it when you are training – there are so many girls coming through the ranks with so much talent and it is amazing to see,” she said.
“It shows all that work that the clubs and the RFL are doing is really working.”
Gentles also remembers the 2019 season and what it felt like to lose both finals to Leeds.
“Leeds Rhinos – the thorn in our sides!” joked Gentles.
“We could just not get away from them. Apart from that, 2019 was a really good season for us.
“We had been building since 2017 – when we first came into this, we were a bunch of 16 and 17-year-olds trying to come together as a squad. We had a couple of years building and in 2019, it felt like everything was coming together.
“With everything that has happened in 2020, it has been a case of going back to the basics, but hopefully in 2021 we can all lean on each other and have a really good season.”