Castleford and St Helens, who have been the early-season pacesetters in the Women’s Super League and served up a classic last weekend, are each rewarded by the selection of eight of their players in the squads for the first Women’s Rugby League Origin fixture of the season at the Summer Bash in Blackpool this weekend.
The Tigers, who beat the Saints 30-14 to move two points clear at the top of the WSL table, have seven players selected in Yorkshire’s 17 – while Tara Stanley, who scored 14 of their points on Sunday, will now be playing against her club team-mates as she plays for Lancashire having started her career with the St Helens community club Thatto Heath.
Stanley will line up alongside eight of the St Helens players she helped to defeat at the weekend, including World Cup ambassador Jodie Cunningham and Emily Rudge, who captained England to victory in France in their only international last year.
There will be a second Yorkshire-based player in the Lancashire squad in Amy Johnson, the 26-year-old forward who is from Weaverham in Cheshire, and will be playing against four of her Leeds Rhinos club-mates – Dannielle Anderson, Caitlin Beevers, Charlotte Booth and Hanna Butcher.
Wigan have six players selected, all in the Lancashire squad, while Bradford Bulls have three players in the Yorkshire squad, York City Knights have two, and Featherstone Rovers and Warrington Wolves each have one player involved, for Yorkshire and Lancashire respectively – meaning eight clubs will be represented.
England Women’s head coach Craig Richards is bound to take a close interest in the Origin clash, which kicks off the second day of the Summer Bash programme on Sunday morning, as it provides a rare chance to see the leading contenders for places in the World Cup Nines in Sydney this October playing at a higher level than regular club rugby.
Two members of Richards’ England support staff will take charge of the Origin rivals, with Castleford head coach Lindsay Anfield leading Yorkshire, and the former England men’s full-back Shaun Briscoe working alongside Wigan’s Amanda Wilkinson for Lancashire.
Lancashire are the reigning Origin champions, having won a tight game 16-10 on Yorkshire soil in Featherstone last year.
This year the Women's Rugby League Origin has been expanded to a two-match series, with Yorkshire to host a second match on June 16.
Sunday's match will be one of two Origin matches shown live on Our League this weekend - following the Academy Origin match on Saturday morning.
Yorkshire: Dannielle Anderson (Leeds), Savannah Andrade (Bradford), Caitlin Beevers (Leeds), Charlotte Booth (Leeds), Hanna Butcher (Leeds), Grace Field (Castleford), Kelsey Gentles (Castleford), Amy Hardcastle (Bradford), Katherine Hepworth (Featherstone), Shona Hoyle (Castleford), Ashleigh Hyde (York), Leah Jones (Bradford), Rhiannion Marshall (Castleford), Sinead Peach (Castleford), Tamzin Renouf (Castleford), Georgia Roche (Castleford), Daisy Sanderson (York).
Lancashire: Lucy Baggaley (Wigan), Leah Burke (St Helens), Chantelle Crowl (St Helens), Jodie Cunningham (St Helens), Michelle Davis (Wigan), Zoe Harris (Wigan), Amy Johnson (Leeds), Tara Jones (St Helens), Sarah Lovejoy (St Helens), Roxette Murdoch (Warrington), Emily Rudge (St Helens), Tara Jane Stanley (Castleford), Vanessa Temple (Wigan), Rachel Thompson (Wigan), Naomi Williams (St Helens), Katie-May Williams (St Helens), Georgia Wilson (Wigan).