York favourites to win ‘three-horse race’ Women’s Super League

James Gordon
Women's Super League 2023 launch

Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com - 28/03/2023 - Rugby League - Betfred Women's Super League 2023 Launch - Headingley Stadium, Leeds, England - Huddersfield's Bella Sykes, Warrington's Armani Sharrock, York's Sinead Peach, Wigan's Rachel Thompson, Leeds' Hanna Butcher & St Helens' Jodie Cunningham.

The pre-season predictions are for a three-horse race in the Women’s Super League, which kicks off on April 9.

It comes as no surprise, with York and Leeds having made the bold move to start to pay their players from the 2023 season.

The newly-christened York Valkyrie have been installed as favourites by competition sponsor’s Betfred.

York won seven of their eight regular season matches last season to top the league table, but they were beaten 12-4 by Leeds in the Grand Final.

Leeds had upset reigning champions St Helens 14-6 in the semi-finals, to gain revenge for their defeat in the Challenge Cup final at Elland Road.

St Helens are second favourites to re-capture their crown at 7/4, slightly ahead of Leeds at 9/4.

The other three clubs in this year’s Women’s Super League, Warrington (40/1), Wigan (40/1) and Huddersfield (200/1) are all rank outsiders.

First season of paid players in Women’s Super League

Warrington and Huddersfield previously confirmed their players would remain unpaid, due to being operated by the respective club’s community foundations.

St Helens have remained pragmatic about the situation, stating that it should be a universal, commercially led decision.

Eamonn McManus did acknowledge though that may have now been taken out of everyone’s hands, by York and Leeds’ decision to “jump the gun”.

Wigan chairman Ian Lenegan has voiced his concerns over payments being made in the Women’s Super League before it is commercially viable.

The Women’s Super League season was launched at a special event at Headingley on Tuesday.

Live television coverage to start from game one

Headingley will be the venue for the season opener between Leeds and York, live on Sky Sports, on Easter Sunday.

York captain Sinead Peach said: “To be back here in two weeks time, walking the girls out is going to be a massive occasion.

“To play here and for it to be on Sky, it’s a great opener to the season for the women’s game.

“We can get more fans rooting for the women’s game and more supporters.

“Our dream is the treble, for every team it is. Last season we were obviously the most consistent team, lifting the League Leader’s Shield, so we want that again.”

Sky Sports will also broadcast the clash between Leeds and St Helens on May 26, plus St Helens’ game against York on July 28.

It was announced earlier this week that further live coverage of the Women’s Super League would be provided by The Sportsman.

There will be 10 regular season games for each team in the Women’s Super League top tier.

Group 2 will comprise of six further teams, who will play each other home and away on the same basis.

Those six teams are Barrow, Bradford, Castleford, Featherstone, Leigh and Salford.

MORE: Full fixture list for 2023 Women’s Super League season