YORK City Knights Ladies legend Kay Rollinson has urged the local community to get behind the Rugby League World Cup when the region plays host to the tournament in just under two years’ time.

The 44-year-old from York began her coaching career two years ago with York City Knights, following a staggering 27-year playing career where she represented the Knights and Hull, among other sides.

Kay has recently been appointed assistant coach for Scotland Women’s Rugby League side and will be part of their coaching set-up during the Emerging Nations Women’s World Cup at the Festival of World Cups in 2021.

“Rugby has been a part of my life as long as I can remember, so coaching was a natural progression,” said Kay, who is excited for her new challenge north of the border.

“There’s never been a Scottish women’s team so it’s quite groundbreaking.

“Wales have also come out with a women’s team so rugby league is booming everywhere at the moment.”

Equal opportunity in the sport is an important subject for Kay, so the fact that RLWC2021 marks the first time that the men’s, women’s and wheelchair competitions will be played as one event makes the tournament even more significant.

“It’s where we’ve been trying to get to for the past few years,” added Kay. “It’s never been done before and it can only go from strength to strength.”

As the sport takes steps towards full inclusivity, Kay spoke of the challenges that women in rugby league can face and how she hopes for further progress.

“I understand the difficulties women sometimes have with others appreciating the level of commitment they give to the game, especially their families.

“We sometimes end up hosting a creche for them so they can bring their kids and they’ll all sit down at one end of the pitch. I take my hat off to any of the women who have children and also come and play.”

Kay is excited to have the chance to volunteer in York during RLWC2021 and encourages anyone who is interested to give volunteering a go.

She added: “It’s been the best thing I’ve ever done. Once you get involved, there’s a whole energy around the team that’s like a big family.

“It’s also a great outlet from the day-to-day. We all go to work and are faced with challenges and rugby is my release.

“Even though I’m not playing, I get great enjoyment out of seeing how much the women improve and how much they really enjoy the game and value the coaching.

“As an ex-player I know what it’s like to have an influential coach around you.

“Everybody that coached me had a positive impact on me as a person and as a player and this is what I hope to do.”

While Kay has a wealth of experience in rugby league, previous involvement is not a necessity for those interested in volunteering.

She believes that anyone can volunteer, saying: “There’s always a job for anyone who wants to get involved in rugby league, it doesn’t matter if you have experience or not.

“There’s lots that goes on behind the scenes, from cooking the food for the teams to getting the programmes ready and selling them.”

Kay’s hometown of York will be hosting six women’s group games and both women’s semi-finals in their newly built LNER Community Stadium, a huge occasion for the city and one which she can’t wait for.

“It will be a fantastic occasion no matter what game you go to watch.”

Jon Dutton, RLWC2021’s chief executive, said: “Volunteers will be the backbone of what will become the biggest Rugby League World Cup ever.

“We’re now open so people can register their interest in becoming a volunteer and be part of something special.

“Previous global events have shown just how integral volunteers are to the smooth running of a tournament.

“Our volunteers will be the first faces people see when they arrive at stadiums and train stations up and down the country so it’s vital they get a warm welcome.

“Kay is a shining example of how someone who has given so much of her free time to benefit others has found her own reward in her appointment as assistant coach for the Scotland women’s team.

“Hopefully, the people of York will be inspired by Kay’s story and get involved with RLWC2021.”

For more information on the Rugby League World Cup 2021 volunteer programme or to sign-up, visit: https://rlwc2021.com/