The first ever Woman of Steel has added more weight to her trophy cabinet after claiming the inaugural women’s Super League Player of the Year award.
The trophy was given to Roche at the All-Party Parliamentary Rugby League Group annual charity dinner. This is the first time that the group have recognised women’s rugby league with such an award.
Despite the ongoing hostile political atmosphere at Westminster, the event was attended by politicians from all parts of the country, including the MP for Bradford South Judith Cummins who said: “The Parliamentary Rugby League Group continues to be one of the most active sporting groups in Westminster, and our annual dinner is a fitting celebration of the past year in the sport.
“We continue to support the sport at all levels, raising issues and speaking up for rugby league in Parliament wherever possible.”
This is yet another accolade for Roche who has enjoyed a life-changing 2018. The 18-year-old started the year by winning promotion with the Dewbury Moor Maroons in the women’s winter league. She went on to end the year not only by representing England, but also being named as the inaugural Woman of Steel and featuring on the BBC’s Young Sports Personality of the Year award shortlist.
Wigan Warriors’ John Bateman took the men’s award after leading the his side to the Super League title.
Meanwhile, the Geoff Lofthouse Award was presented to Julia Lee following her contribution to the game. Lee became the first woman in 1991 to referee a men’s game and went on to provide a further 10 years of service for the RFL.
The event also saw the announcement of four new Honorary Life Members. These included Emma Rosewarne (RFL Welfare Director), Adam Hills (PDRL), Steve Ball (General Manager of the RL Benevolent Fund) and Shaun Wane, former player and head coach of the Wigan Warriors.