For Stacy Mowforth it was in 2017 when her life and many other careers drastically changed with the formation of the Women’s Super League.  

Just four teams entered the competition but with the dedication and tireless work of the Rugby Football League and players willing to try out and join clubs, there are now ten top sides trying to make it to the Grand Final.

As well as the Women’s Super League the game has also evolved to have eight teams participate in the Championship.

Ahead of the 2022 season, Halifax Panthers prop Mowforth spoke on the rise of the women’s game in the UK, and why rugby league is so special to her.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva on Pexels.com

She is pleased with how the women’s and men’s games have come closer together in terms of equal opportunities but admits there is plenty more still to be done.

“It has grown massively over the last couple of years, Mowforth said.

“There’s a long way to go but it is slowly closing. It will only continue to close with more exposure and closer links to professional clubs.

“Women’s teams are not a gimmick, every woman plays because they love the sport, they play with the same passion and pride as the men.

“We put our bodies on the line week in, week out and make sacrifices in our personal lives to be in condition to compete when often there are other full-time jobs to juggle as well.”

With the rearranged World Cup around the corner, Mowforth passionately explained why this competition is a cornerstone for the women’s game, and how important it is to see the sport on an international platform.

“Personally, I feel the momentum must continue with the media coverage, the upcoming World Cup will help massively, she said.

“The women’s game needs to be made professional and the players need to be paid and looked after the same as the men.

“The build-up to the World Cup has been massive due to the postponement and the interest is high, and for the first time the women will be paid the same as the men so that is a massive stepping-stone for the game.

“The coverage it’ll bring to the women’s game will showcase the women on an international stage.”

Rugby league journalist Eithan Boulter-Ashcroft feels that the women’s has come on a lot since it was introduced back in 2017.

“The women’s game has evolved massively over the recent years.

“In particular last season with the Challenge Cup final being live on the BBC and the Grand Final on Sky Sports, it shows how much the game is growing, this is the standout moment in women’s rugby league.

“In addition to that the attendance for the Grand Final made it a fantastic occasion for all.”

The Grand Final between St Helens and Leeds which saw the Saints take a comfortable 28-0 win saw an attendance of 4,235, an impressive increase on the first year which was just 1,189, showing the increased pedigree of the sport.

Mowforth wanted to express the love she has for the game and how much her teammates mean to her.

“No matter what happens in life, the stresses that come with it, it all disappears when you step onto the pitch. When you take the field with your team-mates, they have your back and you have theirs 100%, we are one big rugby family.”

With the Women’s Super League ever growing Mowforth was thrilled by how many young girls were taking up the game and the media coverage that the women are getting.

“The future is very exciting around women’s rugby, the continued exposure of the women’s game is inspiring the younger generations. More girls are taking the sport up in training camps and academies, helping pave the way for the next generation to progress into top-flight rugby.

“Media coverage needs to grow on all formats including social media, if young girls see a female player on TV or social media, they want to be just like them.

“The number of girls taking up rugby has increased because of the TV coverage, so if the coverage grows so will the number of young girls taking up the sport.”

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