St. Helens women’s team have a new man in charge for the 2019 Super League season with Derek Hardman taking over the reins from Mark Brennan.
Hardman comes into the job following a 10-year spell with the clubs’ scholarship side. The new head coach is looking forward to the job and said: “It’s an exciting challenge for myself. It’s also something that I’ve never done before. Last year this opportunity came up and in the end I thought ‘why not’.”
Saints endured a disappointing season in 2018. The team was knocked out of the Challenge Cup in the quarter-finals by eventual finalists Castleford Tigers. Later that season, Saints suffered a narrow loss in the Women’s Super League semi-final at the hands of bitter rivals Wigan Warriors.
Hardman believes that the DNA of the club requires it to challenge for titles no matter what. He said: “When you’re part of a club like St. Helens you always want to win trophies. That’s the mentality throughout the club. For us, anything less than being in a final and challenging for trophies is classed as a disappointing season.”
Saints kick off the new season with the same fixture that brought the last campaign to the end. Defending champions Wigan Warriors are the opposition with the game set to be streamed live on the OurLeague App.
Hardman is looking forward to this huge encounter but doesn’t believe it will set the tone for the remainder of the season. He said: “This will be a great derby. We want to beat them as much as they want to beat us. It’s great for the sport too.
“The season won’t be defied by this game though. We’re looking at the bigger picture and while this is a huge game, we need to be looking further down the road.”