St Helens skipper: ‘The girls are ready’ for mouthwatering Super League opener against neighbours Wigan

Saints begin the defence of their Betfred Women’s Super League crown with a home derby at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday.

<p>St Helen’s Women lift the 2021 Grand Final trophy.</p>

St Helen’s Women lift the 2021 Grand Final trophy.

Boosted by the successful defence of the Women’s Challenge Cup last weekend, Saints will go into their opening Super League match of 2022 at the Totally Wicked Stadium on Sunday riding on the crest of a wave.

And what a cracker of a match lies ahead!

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Derek Hardman’s team will come face-to-face with nextdoor neighbours Wigan Warriors, who are likely to be one of the clubs capable of denying St Helens the outright championship for the second year on the trot.

Saints skipper Jodie Cunningham said: “I’m just really excited to get going, and meeting the Warriors in the first fixture will add an extra taste to the game which both sides will be desperate to win.”

Cunningham, who scored a crucial 64th minute try in the 18-8 cup final triumph against Leeds at Elland Road, added: “Our focus is now on making sure that we back up and win both the League Leaders’ Shield and the Grand Final - just as we did in 2021.

“It will be tough, but the girls are ready.”

The England international also paid tribute to the fans who travel across the Pennines to Elland Road, declaring: “For me, I don’t think they realise how important they are, especially to the women, and don’t think they realise how much of a difference they make, not only to the performance but to the occasion.

“Having them on board - young girls and families - is huge for us.”

The derby kicks off at 2pm and a bigger than normal crowd is expected.

Admission for 2022 members is free, proving they bring their current card for scanning purposes, while U16s non-members will be charged £3 and adults £5.