Leeds Rhinos beat York City Knights for second Women’s Super League title

Leeds Rhinos survived an enthralling Grand Final against York City Knights to become the first two-time champions of the Women’s Super League. Two tries from the full-back Caitlin Beevers were ultimately enough to prevent the Knights, who finished the season top of the table, from becoming the fifth different winner of the WSL in its five-year history.

Instead it is Leeds, the 2019 champions, who secured their second title and kept alive the club’s hopes of a clean sweep of all three Super League titles. Their wheelchair side face Halifax in that competition’s Grand Final next month, while the Rhinos’ men’s side face St Helens at Old Trafford on Saturday in the men’s finale.

York have enjoyed something of a breakthrough season in the WSL, finishing top for the first time. But they were ultimately outdone here by a composed and measured display from Leeds, with the game a fantastic advert for the growth women’s rugby league has enjoyed in recent years.

Rhinos took the lead after seven minutes, when Courtney Winfield-Hill’s clever pass crafted the space for the outstanding Beevers to cross from close range. Leeds enjoyed plenty of possession throughout the first half, but some spirited defensive efforts from York kept the Rhinos’ advantage to just six points at the break, after Winfield-Hill converted Beevers’ first try of the afternoon.

Beevers was outstanding in defence as well as attack, the undoubted star across both sides. The 20-year-old’s second try came in the early stages of the second half, with a fine piece of individual footwork leading to the full-back bamboozling the York defence.

York replied almost immediately with a superb solo effort from Sinead Peach, who pierced the Rhinos defence from 40 metres out and had too much pace for those chasing back. But any notion of a grand comeback from the Knights was halted with the Rhinos reasserting control.

York had their chances in the final 10 minutes to set up a grandstand finish but the Rhinos held firm time and time again.