England stars close to securing moves to the NRLW

Drew Darbyshire
Hollie-Mae Dodd and Georgia Roche England SWpix NRLW

Photo: Alex Whitehead/SWpix

Two players who starred for England in last year’s World Cup are on the verge of making historic moves to play in the NRLW.

The impressive Hollie-Mae Dodd, who scored a try in York’s 34-12 win over Leeds in the opening game of the Women’s Super League season on Sunday, is expected to move to Canberra Raiders in the largely professional NRLW.

Dodd may have made her final appearance for the Valkyrie in a starring performance in the loose forward role on Sunday afternoon.

Speaking after the game, York coach Lindsay Anfield said: “Hollie will go. She will announce her news when she’s ready but we’re fully behind her.

“She played really well today and she’s down in the changing rooms getting emotional about the fact she might be going.

“It’s absolutely massive for this club. I back any girls who want to go and play over there. Obviously we don’t just want to feed the NRL, we want to grow our own product, but why wouldn’t players want to go over there and test themselves?”

Anfield has no doubt that Dodd will be a big loss to her side, but she’s confident Valkyrie will produce players more than capable of filling the void.

She added: “Hollie will be a big loss when she goes but we have got players coming through who are capable of filling that gap.

“There were players on the team-sheet today who you might have thought, ‘who are they?’, but they stood up to be counted and we’ve got to be proud of that.”

England stars attract interest from NRLW

Meanwhile, former Woman of Steel Georgia Roche was absent from the Leeds team that faced York at Headingley.

Rhinos coach Lois Forsell indicated afterwards that Roche, who cheered her team-mates on from the stands at Headingley, is close to signing for Newcastle Knights.

Forsell said: “Georgia Roche was unavailable for selection. I’m pretty sure the rumours are out there that she’s in talks with NRL and she’s going back and forth with her agent in what that may be and that made her unavailable for selection this weekend. We crack on as normal and keep going.”

Asked if she thinks Roche will play for the Rhinos again, Forsell replied: “I think thats up to Georgia. She’s obviously in talks with the NRL and that’s a great opportunity for her. It says a lot about our game and our competition that we’ve got players who are good enough to head over there so if thats what Georgia wants to do, she’ll go with our best wishes but right now we can only focus on people who are available for selection.”

Also, utility player Fran Goldthorp didn’t feature for Leeds due to international duty with England’s Under-20s in rugby union at the weekend. She has also been linked with a move with the NRLW.

Women’s Super League record attendance

A new Women’s Super League attendance record of 5,308 saw a masterclass from Tara Jane Stanley as York beat Leeds 34-12 at Headingley in the season opener on Sunday.

Stanley proved exactly why she is the current Woman of Steel as she guided Valkyrie around the park brilliantly. She racked up 14 points after scoring a try and kicking five goals.

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