YORK City Knights Ladies could be part of creating something big when they face St Helens Women in the Women's Challenge Cup final on Saturday.

Televised live on BBC Two, the clash (11.15am) provides both an opportunity and a responsibility to showcase the quality of the women's game and boost its appeal, believes Saints head of rugby Craig Richards.

Knights director of rugby Lindsay Anfield concurs, pointing to a regular boost in the profile of the sport.

York's recent growth is a case in point. Still fresh in the memory are the Knights' Women's Super League infancy, when low-key defeats by six scores and more at York St John's playing fields were routine.

Since, the Knights have played at the LNER Community Stadium, been featured live by The Sports-man (attracting more than 11,000 views on YouTube for the cup win over Wigan Warriors), BBC online and now terrestrial TV.

“The profile is raising year after year and to be broadcast like this is huge," Anfield said.

"Hopefully people see it and enjoy it and want more. The profile will just continue to grow."

Both York and Saints are aiming for their first-ever Challenge Cup title tomorrow, and neither side is expecting it to be easy - nor are they hoping for it to be.

Richards commented: “I think there’s a huge responsibility on the coaches and the players to really showcase the women’s game at its best.

“Early on in the season there was negative press about some of the blow-out scores.

“We’re hoping that this is a closer game, a highly-skilled game that showcases to people, who perhaps haven’t seen the women’s game before, how skilled and prepared to play the girls are.

“There’s definitely responsibility and it could be the start of something bigger in terms of new audiences."

Saints' squad for the final features seven players who were named in England's squad for the two-game 2019 tour of Papua New Guinea.

But York have plenty of quality of their own, with five current players also having been in that squad.

Those five - Grace Field, Kelsey Gentles, Rhiannion Marshall, Sinead Peach and Tamzin Renouf - have also been at this stage of the Challenge Cup before.

They featured for Anfield's Castleford in the 2019 final defeat to Leeds Rhinos, then coached by current Knights men's player and ladies' coach Adam Cuthbertson.

And Anfield feels there could have been a lesson to be learnt from that defeat.

She said: "I think the prep we did for the previous two was a mentality of 'leave no stone unturned, cover every base'.

"We potentially changed too many things after the semi in terms of upping the girls and maybe put too much pressure on them.

"This time, we've not done the opposite but we've carried on as we were but we've tried to do the same things as we have in the last few games which have worked.

"It's just like a no-pressure game for us."

On Saints' main threats, Anfield commented: "You can't pick anyone out really but their half speed and their centres are probably the most dangerous point.

"Rudgey (Emily Rudge) and Jodie (Cunningham) down the middle with a few others is again really powerful.

"It's just a matter of us making sure we're up for the game."

York last week lost their first game under Anfield, going down 20-18 to her former side Castleford Tigers.

"Last week against Castleford I think we showed where we mentally need to be," Anfield added.

"The mindset wasn't right, there was probably a bit of self-preservation waiting for the final.

"Saints are a quality side. It's going to be a tough game, hopefully."