Our wonderful Warrington Wolves Girls teams are under the spotlight this month as we interview Club Secretary, Player and U14s Team Manager, Nikki Osborne (pictured), about how they’ve almost trebled their numbers in a little over 2 years!
Warrington Wolves Girls Rugby League Teams were first set up in October 2018 when the Warrington Wolves Foundation and the Warrington Wolves Rugby League team, identified a small group of girls and ladies who wished to take part in rugby league in Warrington. With this as a driving factor they set out a plan to deliver maximum impact on the growth of the girls rugby league.
The Foundation, with support from an amazing group of volunteers and coaches and using the power of the Warrington Wolves brand, managed to recruit players for Under 12’s 14’s and 16’s to compete in our first season of girls rugby league as Warrington Wolves girls in 2018. By the end of the 2019 season, there were 88 registered players playing for Warrington Wolves Girls.
All of this activity was led by the development of the Warrington Wolves Women’s team who set off in the Women’s Championship, with a vision to win promotion to the Betfred Women’s Super League (pictured, promoted at the end of the 2019 season). It was supported by the underlying impact that the Foundation could have on the town, by raising aspirations of all young females in Warrington, increasing confidence and having more active females in our town, and by giving everyone who took part the opportunity to represent their hometown rugby league club and see an opportunity for them to represent Warrington Wolves Women’s Super League Team in the future.
The Warrington Wolves Girls team numbers are considerably more than a small number! Under the leadership of Chair Lee Mitchell, himself a former Warrington Wolves player, Vice Chair Gary Meacham and Nikki, the teams are growing from strength to strength. In the 2021 season, the U14s and U16s reached the North West Rugby League Girls Cup Finals and had the added bonus of being able to play their games on the Halliwell Jones turf, huge thanks to the Club for making this happen. In their first season, the U12s were 2019 league winners, the same year the U14s won the Lancashire Cup indeed the leadership team and support from team managers and volunteers have grown Warrington Wolves Girls to be one of the biggest girls rugby league clubs in the country.
Nikki explains how she became involved:
“My daughter Erin started playing in October 2018 and for the first season I was an oblivious rugby mum, I turned up to training and matches and supported the girls and then went home. Then at the end of the 2019 season the current team manager was moving up to the U14’s with her daughter which left a vacancy for a U13’s Team Manager when we started the 2020 season. I took on the role in October 2019, Covid stopped us in our tracks for the 2020 season but we did what we could over Zoom to practice skills, maintain fitness and keep the girls engaged. I was then asked to take a wider role within the club and then eventually elected to the committee which I started in January 2021 and haven’t looked back. I am delighted to see how far not only Erin but so many of our players have developed over the past 3 years. Warrington Wolves Girls is such a huge part of my life and I love it.”
We also have it on good authority you have gone on to play yourself Nikki, taking part in our Walking Touch RL sessions on a Thursday evening!
The teams have also had successes in the Women’s Super League too; Hollie Jones from the U18s debuting for the Women’s Super League in August 2021 and Emily Tandy who progressed quickly from U16’s to be a trainee coach and moving to the Women’s Super League.
There are exciting plans ahead for the future, the club hopes to continue in its growth as at the end of the 2021 season, the Club had 206 registered players across the following age ranges:
However they’re not just numbers, they are people. They’re 206 girls who have had their lives changed by sport; 206 girls involved in a team; 206 girls growing in confidence and skill; 206 potential Super League players of the future.