Rugby League World Cup: Wigan Warriors' Vicky Molyneux says she's 'buzzing' for England Women's game at the DW Stadium
Craig Richards’ side face Canada in their second group game on Saturday as part of a double-header with the men’s quarter-final against Papua New Guinea.
Molyneux states it’s been a rollercoaster for her in the build-up to the tournament.
She said: “Obviously playing for Wigan and being a fan my whole life, when I saw that fixture, I thought if I’m going to play any group game then I want it to be that.
“Just to walk out, and be part of where the men play, I’m absolutely buzzing.
“My whole family is going to be there, that’s about 40 people, so no pressure, I hope I do get picked.
“I just can’t wait and I’m sure I’ll be holding back the tears.
“I made my England debut when I was 17-years-old in 2007. I then took a break from the game before coming into it.
“This year, in the first game of the season for Wigan I tore my MCL.
“So I went from being in the best shape of my life, to doing that.
“I didn’t know if I’d be in the position to take to the field, so I’m happy and honoured to have the opportunity to be in contention to play.
“Craig (Richards) has been really supportive. Constantly checking up on me and seeing how I am, offering that emotional support.
“When I looked likely to play again, he really did take the pressure off, just telling me not to worry too much.
“At the same time in the back of my mind I was thinking: ‘I’ve worked hard for this, and I want the opportunity to be picked for the World Cup.’
“Being injured is one of the loneliest places you can imagine sometimes, when you’re stuck in the gym doing a rehab programme while all the girls are playing rugby outside.
“Craig did make that little bit easier for me.
“He oozes respect. He’s got this aura around him where you want to make sure your standards are high, but at the same time he’s still really approachable.
“If you need support then he would offer that. He’s got a nice balance, you’ve got to be at the top of your game and represent the badge, but if you need help then he’s there for you.”
Molyneux says she can’t believe just how much women’s rugby league has grown, and believes it’s important to inspire the next generation.
“I was part of the first England team that got funding,” she added.
“I made my debut in France and everything was completely paid for, which was the first time in history for the women’s team.
“I’d gone from playing on bits of field on top of a hill with my club, turning up in my kit because they didn’t have changing rooms, to that.
“It’s amazing how much more it’s grown.
“I don’t think I was prepared for walking out against Brazil on Tuesday with the crowd and the noise.
“Little things like the fire at the side of the pitch helps to make it such an amazing feeling.
“It was a little bit overwhelming. I do get emotional singing the national anthem, but I was already in tears on the coach.
“I do wear my heart on my sleeve a little bit. So along with my game day nerves I was trying to contain my emotions a little bit because I didn’t want them to take over me.
“It was important that we had children in the ground for that game because they’re the people who are going to grow our game. Not just the women’s, but rugby league in general.
“It’s those young people who will take to the field one day and will buy tickets to go to the game.
“It was a really proud moment for the sport.”