More than 50 women and girls are signed on at Newsome Panthers ARLFC as the new season begins.

The junior girls’ side have already played their first match and the women’s side kick off their campaign on Sunday (March 5).

Panthers’ secretary Kathryn Buckley is excited to see more females playing the sport and getting involved in the club more generally.

“When girls reach under-12 level they can no longer play alongside the boys,” she said. “That is often where their journey in the sport ends.

“As a club, Newsome Panthers didn’t want that to happen. The strength, resilience and camaraderie that rugby gives our young women is invaluable.

“We had four under-11 girls last season and the desire was there to create something for them to continue being a part of, and to continue on their Newsome Panthers journey.

“The club pulled together and we are starting the 2023 season with over 50 players signed on and four teams competing in the Girls and Women’s Rugby League.”

Photos by: Steve Biltcliffe Photography

The first girls’ RL game in recent years was played at Newsome Panthers’ Hall Bower ground last Saturday with Panthers U12 girls’ team hosting another newly-formed team from Siddal.

With Bethanie Neilson, an ex-Newsome Panther herself, refereeing the game, it was a celebration of 12 months of hard work by the club.

Buckley added: “This is what it is all about, supporting the girls game. The joy on the faces of each of those girls and the teamwork and the friendships that the girls from Newsome Panthers and Siddal RL have built in such a short time is just fantastic.”

Panthers chairman Steven Roberts said: “I am so proud of the work of everyone involved in getting the girls and women’s section up and running.

“To go from no teams, to being the only club in Huddersfield that has the opportunity to cater for any girl or woman, no matter their age or ability to play rugby league, is immense.”

Newsome Panthers’ first ever Women’s Open Age game is a friendly against Rochdale Hornets at Hall Bower on Sunday (March 5) with a 2.30pm kick-off.

Over 25 women are now training every week and they will be competing in Division 2 of the WRL. A mixture of experienced players and those who, six months ago had never picked up a rugby ball, the team are excited to get going.  

Newsome player Cyenna Ruby said: “Newsome are like a big family. I have enjoyed training for the past couple of months with this amazing group of lasses and I’m excited to put our work onto the field at the weekend.”

With the continued support from England Rugby League and Huddersfield Giants Community Trust, Newsome Panthers ARLFC will continue to help girls access the game across the Huddersfield area.

Newsome Panthers ARLFC are still recruiting for 2023 for all ages and abilities. Search for Newsome Panthers on Facebook for more information.