Wigan Warriors Women ready to get their Super League season underway

Wigan Warriors Women kick off their new Super League season this weekend.
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Kris Ratcliffe’s side start the campaign away to Warrington Wolves at Victoria Park on Sunday afternoon (K.O. 2pm).

The Warriors head coach believes the club have laid good foundations heading into their opener.

“We’ve been waiting a long time for this,” he said.

Rachel Thompson is looking forward to making her return from injuryRachel Thompson is looking forward to making her return from injury
Rachel Thompson is looking forward to making her return from injury
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“We started early in pre-season, so we are ready to get going now.

“I don’t focus too much on outcome goals because some things are out of your control, so we just look at performance.

“We’ve highlighted the areas we can be better in, and we’ve already started to address some of those.

“Things are in place to help us have a successful season and go one better.”

Vicky Molyneux was part of England's World Cup squadVicky Molyneux was part of England's World Cup squad
Vicky Molyneux was part of England's World Cup squad
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Captain Rachel Thompson will miss the opening few weeks of the season, but is close to returning to action following a long-term injury.

“For me it’s about getting back on the pitch,” she stated.

“It’s been a long 19 months on the sidelines, but I’m just over a month out now of getting back into things.

“I’ve worked so hard to get back to where I am now, and it’s not been easy, but it will make it even more special when I get back out there.

“It’s going to be a really interesting season, because we’ve got a lot of young talent.

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“The girls have worked incredibly hard and I’m just excited to play with them.”

Vicky Molyneux heads into this season having seen the growth of the women’s game at the Rugby League World Cup, after being part of the England squad for the tournament.

“Every season it’s getting bigger and bigger,” she said.

“Investment is a lot stronger this year, and so is the competition.

“A lot of momentum was built during the World Cup.

“The media coverage and the exposure is adding that excitement to the sport.

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“The players have created reputations, so this season is going to be big.

“Walking out at the opener against Brazil at Headingley was one of the highlights of my career.

“We’ve never experienced anything like that before.

“It was at the point where you couldn’t hear your teammates because people were screaming.

“I’m hoping a lot of children would’ve caught a World Cup game and will now be invested in it.

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“Having role models is important, because it shows that it takes hard work.

“To create bigger interest, we need to make sure the quality of what we are producing is good.

“It’s exciting where it’s going to go.”

Kaitlin Hilton and Grace Banks are products of Wigan’s academy system, and will represent both the junior and senior sides this season.

“I can’t wait to get going,” said Hilton.

“We’ve had a few pre-season fixtures, and it’s been really good to get stuck in.

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“It’s exciting with the squad we’ve got, hopefully we can really achieve something this season.

“We will shock people with how good we are, because we’ve been working hard on and off the pitch.

“Personally I just want to be on the pitch and to play in every possible fixture.

“I’m captaining the academy again this year, and it’s good to see all of the new girls coming in.

“It’s the best of both worlds for me.

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“I also work for the club’s foundation, so I get to see the whole process, and can see the hard work that goes into developing that academy.

“The club is helping us out a lot, and rugby league in general is growing massively.

“It’s already come a long way and you can see the potential.

Banks added: “I’m really excited for the new season because I know how much effort the coaches have put into the teams this year.

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“I’m really honoured to have come through the whole of the pathway with Wigan.

“It’s my hometown and my club. I've supported them since I was young.

“It will mean the world to make my Super League debut this year.

“I’m so proud of how I’ve got here.

“I played rugby in primary school and then at Orrell St James before I joined Leigh Miners girls, which is where Rachel Thompson played.

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“I’ve always been around the sport because my mum played it.

“I’ve had someone to look up to and hopefully I can be that for some younger girls coming to play rugby now.

“The sport is growing more and more, and you can see that each year.

“When we had the scholarship trials, we had over 100 girls wanting to play for Wigan- that means a lot.”

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Banks also plays the sport’s other code, and believes it has been beneficial for her.

“I feel like rugby union has helped me,” she stated.

“It’s good to have both.

“I’m always playing the sport so I’m always improving.

“I just want to continue to get better and gel more with the Wigan team.

“I’m quite new, so I want to grow as a player, and we can grow as a side to go onto bigger and better things.”

Following their Super League opener against Warrington, the Warriors then turn their attention to the Challenge Cup for a few weeks.

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They face Cardiff Demons (April 23), Featherstone Rovers (May 7) and Salford Red Devils (May 21) in the group stages of the competition, with the latter of the three fixtures being Wigan’s first home game at Robin Park Arena in 2023.