Cardiff Demons or London Broncos could be in the main Betfred Women’s Super League competition by 2024.
That’s the view of Marc Lovering, the Rugby Football League’s Director of Participation and Development. ahead of this Saturday’s Betfred Women’s Super League South Grand Final at Cross Keys RFC (kick-off 3pm), which sees the Demons take on London Broncos. Admission is free for all fans.
Lovering says: “Saturday’s final gives another great opportunity to showcase the top teams in the South. It will be the second consecutive final for Cardiff Demons who will face a very talented London Broncos side.
“One of the key objectives of setting up the BWSL South was to open up another talent pool for Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League. We have already seen Caroline Collie of Bedford Tigers make the step up into the England squad and I’m sure there will be others, including some of the Broncos squad, who are on radar of the England coaches. The Demons also provide the backbone of the Welsh national side who are currently ranked the seventh best in the world and have competed impressively against England in the last two summers.
“Both teams will be keen to receive the accolade of being the top team in the South. That mantle will become increasingly important as we head towards 2024 when we envisage a full national pyramid throughout the women’s game with the opportunity for the BWSLS Grand Final Winner to reach the BWSL via a play-off.
“It will be entirely possible from 2024 for the likes of Cardiff Demons or London Broncos to be playing St Helens, Leeds Rhinos or York City Knights on a regular basis as fellow members of the BWSL. Such an opportunity should help clubs in the South attract and retain some of the best talent given the opportunity to test themselves against the best players around in an elite competition with the profile of the BWSL.”
Cardiff Demons have suffered just one loss this season, that to the Broncos by a solitary conversion, and finished the regular season with the best points for and against records. They booked their final spot with a hard-earned 30-16 semi-final win over the Army, thanks to tries from Molly Reardon, Brittony Price, Charlie Mundy, Eleri Michael and Bryonie King.
Cardiff Demons head coach, Ian Newbury, says: “We are focused on the challenge ahead. It was a tight game last time and Broncos are going to bring that same determination especially looking at going unbeaten this season.
“We’ve focused this season on on our defence and its certainly showed in the field. We had a tough semi final against a strong Army squad and since then, we have been putting in the hard yards over the last two weeks and the players have an extra focus on this one.”
The Broncos are unbeaten in 2022 and despatched Bedford Tigers in the semi-final at the Cherry Red Records Stadium in Plough Lane to reach their first final. Rosie Cairns, Sophie Messem, Lauren Mueller, Iona McCusker, Kirsty-Lee Griffiths, Emily Hughes, Abi Gordon, Jess Ingram and Sophie Tauchert all scored tries in a convincing 44-6 win.
London Broncos head coach, Colin Baker, a long-time servant at the capital club, said: “Cardiff hadn’t lost in two years, so having beaten them gives us plenty of confidence and self-belief. But we’re under no illusions – they set the benchmark in Super League South and are going to be very tough to beat. Two good teams going head-to-head makes for a fantastic event.
“We’ve come a long way since I ran an open trial event prior to launching our side in 2021. Many of the players who came to that trial still make up the nucleus of our squad and the new players we’ve brought in have added something extra. We’ve really kicked on this year. Now, we’re pretty strong across the park and our skipper Courtney Treco is a leader on and off the pitch – players respond to the example she sets.”
London Broncos versus Cardiff Demons will be shown live on Our League from 3pm – and everything points to another close encounter between the best sides in the Betfred Women’s Super League South.
Pandy Park is the home of Cross Keys RFC, and is just a short walk away from Cross Keys train and bus stations. For spectators travelling by car, the postcode is NP11 7BS.