Cardiff Demons ready for London Broncos on Sunday

Cardiff Demons travel to London Broncos on Sunday looking to win their third Super League South title in a row (kick-off 3pm).

There’s no promotion up for grabs this season, but this will all change in 2024 when the women’s game is restructured. However, both finalists have automatically qualified for the 2024 Women’s Challenge Cup.

Cardiff and London have met four times in the past, with Demons winning three of the encounters, their only loss being a league match in 2022, which is in fact their only ever defeat in the Women’s Super League South.

The Welsh side go into the game on the back of a convincing 72-8 semi-final win over Bedford Tigers, when full-back and captain Leanne Burnell’s 38-point haul earned her the player of the match award, and helped her surpass 100 points for the club.

“The semi-final was a much-improved performance”, reflected Cardiff coach Ian Newbury, who hopes his side can continue their winning form on Sunday. “After a couple of key personnel losses, it’s been a difficult season bedding in new combinations. The scoreline didn’t reflect the toughness that Bedford brought to the game, so I was really pleased to see things start to gel at the right time. We know what we need to bring on Sunday, and we will continue to work on the key combinations to deliver that in the final.”

Cardiff Demons have impressed throughout 2023. Their performance in the Women’s Nines Festival at Warrington earned them a wildcard spot at Finals Day, whilst they also reached the quarter-finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup for the first time. 

“At the start of the season we set out goals for what we wanted to achieve this year,” adds Newbury, who firmly believes his squad have what it takes to compete with the best. “We wanted to show that the Women’s Super League South clubs can compete with the Northern powerhouses and that when supported properly expansion works. Winning the Grand Final would finish our season exactly where we expect to be and be the reward this group deserves.”

Standing in their way are London Broncos, who finished the regular season with four wins from five – their only loss a narrow 10-8 at the hands of their Grand Final opponents. In the short time they have been competing in the WSL South, both sides have pushed one another to higher standards. 

“There is the old saying ‘you have to lose one to win one’”, says Broncos head coach Colin Baker, who is hoping his side can go one step further this time around. “I am not sure how valid that old adage is, but we definitely learned a lot from last season’s defeat. Obviously, to win would be a special moment for the whole group and a shot in the arm for the women’s game in London.”

The Broncos booked their place in the final with a 22-12 semi-final defeat of Army RL, with Rebecca Jackson, Nicole Kennedy and captain Courtney Treco all on the scoresheet.  

“Beating Castleford Tigers for our first Challenge Cup win was special,” says Baker, “and despite the result playing St Helens was a landmark fixture for us. But I think last weekend’s win against the Army RL has been my highlight – there were so many challenges for the squad around that game that made it special. Also, the players from both teams singing a hymn together at the end was a special moment.”

And whilst London have home advantage playing at Rosslyn Park, Colin is taking nothing for granted. “It’s obviously nice to be at home, but Cardiff also train and play on 4G so there won’t be too much in that. What we need is a noisy home crowd to get behind us!”

The WSL South Grand Final will take place at Rosslyn Park RFC at 3pm. Entry to the event is free and all of the action will be streamed live and exclusive on Our League.