HEAD coach Daryl North again praised his York City Knights Ladies team's battling qualities despite another hefty defeat in the Women's Super League.

The Knights Ladies hammered Championship side Widnes in the Challenge Cup last time out to underline their top-flight potential, but their struggles in the elite tier following promotion last term continued with a 50-0 reverse at Wigan Warriors.

North bemoaned a poor first half with the ball as they trailed 20-0 at the break but had only accolades for their second-half show as they played the majority of it with no fit subs - Ruth Whitehead going back on to keep the numbers up to 13 despite a suspected hairline fracture of her collarbone.

He said: "In the first half it's far to say we weren't brilliant in attack, giving a lot of cheap ball away.

"I thought at half-time, though, that if we started playing, we had it in us to pull that back.

"But for the first 10 minutes of the second half we had only one (fit) sub and for the last half hour we had no subs. Ruth was really brave to go back out there.

"Playing the likes of Wigan with a full team is hard enough but having no interchanges made it really difficult. It was just too much for us and in the last 30 minutes the points came in."

Former Great Britain player Bev Langan impressed again as she continued her return from retirement but she was one of the players to be sidelined for the last half hour.

Loose-forward Daisy Sanderson was named York's player of the match, followed by Ash Hyde and Emily Farrow.

Paige Stevens in the forwards also excelled, playing over her allotted minutes due to injuries, likewise captain Carly Hilton, while full-back Nat Carr had a good game defensively, stopping a few more Wigan tries from going in.

For Wigan, former England captain Gemma Walsh was a standout performer.

North has always said this debut season in the elite tier would be a learning curve. He added: "We're doing it tough as well. We seem to be picking up injuries all the time and it just leaves us short.

"If we had our interchanges we could've come away with something in the second half, but in the space of 10 minutes we lost a full bench.

"Defensively we battled away though and it really showed that, despite results, they're working for each other. Some of the girls ran their blood to water, keeping going and going.

"Even though the result wasn't great, there were positives."

Next up is a trip to Leeds Rhinos Women on Sunday.