Huddersfield Giants are celebrating that their women’s first team will have the opportunity to play for the Grand Final next year as their application to Betfred Women’s Super League Group 1 was accepted. 

The women’s section started at the club in 2018 with an under 19s side. It then grew from there and they entered the Championship in 2019. Having been promoted to Super League in 2020 the season was cancelled due to Covid-19. 

They did manage to play a full season in 2021 and eventually and dramatically won the Super League’s league leader’s shield as they came top of Group 2. They defeated Featherstone Rovers back in October as the Giants won 24-22 in a nail-biting final at Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley stadium. 

This was a huge success for the Giants as the team had only started a few seasons ago and this was their first season at Super League level. 

The 2022 season will be quite different to last year with another two teams added to the league but the format has changed. 

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In 2018 the Women’s Super League was created with just four sides taking part. When next year rolls around the league will have expanded to a 12-team division which will be split into two groups. 

In group one there will be Wigan Warriors, Castleford Tigers, York City Knights, Leeds Rhinos and current Grand Final champions St Helens as well as the Giants. 

The Giants Women raise the League Leader’s Shield

Meanwhile in Group 2 there will be Barrow and Leigh Miners who have been promoted from the Championship alongside the Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield Trinity and Warrington Wolves. They will battle it out for the league leader’s shield. 

There are promotions and relegation from the Championship and the two Super League groups. 

On the journey the team has made Giants head of women’s rugby James Westerby said: “Since 2018 we, as a club, have been on a journey and to do what we did last season was fantastic. The aim was always to battle teams at the top of Super League. 

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“We always knew it would be a tough season last year. We had some heavy defeats in those first few rounds. We had to learn from those moments and it stood us in good stead going forward. 

“From the beginning of August when the season split we only lost one match which was to Featherstone actually. 

“We then signed some new players and we really picked up in form culminating in the victory over Featherstone at Headingley in October. 

“If someone would have said at the start of the season we would have ended it winning some silverware I wouldn’t have believed them.” 

The cup looking glorious in the sun.

Westerby knows that next season will be even tougher than the last with his players coming up against sides such as St Helens and York who have internationals playing for them. 

On next season he said: “We are under no illusions of how tough next year will be. We know it is realistically unlikely we will be challenging at the top of the table because both Saints and York have squads full of England players. 

“Our aim will be to stay in the division and then build from there and we are confident we can do that.” 

On the wider success of the women’s game Westerby is excited by the future growth potential and said: “I suppose from a game point of view for viewers, clubs, sponsors, players and broadcasters, no-one wants to see one-sided games and that’s why the league is split into two groups. 

“It would be great if we could get to a point where we had a really strong 12-team Super League. Hopefully we can get to that point, you then start to look at TV deals etc which helps promote the game.”