YORK City Knights Ladies boss Lindsay Anfield has called for minimum standards of provisions to be imposed on teams in the Betfred Women’s Super League (BSWL).

This year’s Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup further highlighted the disparity between the top three sides in the women’s game - St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and York - and the rest.

St Helens scored 316 and conceded zero in their five-match run to the final, where they eventually beat Leeds 18-8 at Elland Road.

Similarly, York and Leeds boasted points differences of +286 and +210 respectively before their semi-final epic, edged by the Rhinos on a 26-24 scoreline.

On the eve of the new BSWL season - which sees York visit Huddersfield Giants on Sunday (2pm) - talk surrounds how the competition can produce competitive matches in the face of the dominance of the top three.

Knights Ladies director of rugby Anfield said: “My view on it is that people are really quick to say ‘All the top clubs are getting all the top players’ and some are saying that there should be a stipulation from the RFL as to how many each club can have.

“In my opinion, you can’t ask a player to go to a different club where the provisions are so different.

“The RFL need to bring in (minimum) standards across all of the (Super League) clubs so that players have got the same opportunity at different clubs.

“Players will move to clubs where the best provisions are.

“For example, if your daughter wanted to play for England and reach the top of the game, they’re not going to go to a club that hasn’t got a strength and conditioning coach, where there are poor facilities and they don’t train very often.

“They’ll want to go somewhere where the provisions are good and at the moment us, Saints, Leeds and Warrington have got the best provisions and we’re attracting the best players.

“For me, it’s up to the other clubs to step up and if they do that, top players will come to them.

“It’s not about certain clubs poaching players, it’s about players going where they’re going to get the best.”

Asked how likely she thinks it is that those other clubs will make extra efforts to invest in their women’s sides, Anfield added: “I think they will, with more clubs seeing the profile of the women’s game rising.

“I can’t see the women’s game taking a backwards step because the proof is there with the success of cricket, football and rugby union.

“Clubs have either got to invest or get left behind. I suppose it’s up to the people who run those clubs as to whether they want to be up there in the women’s game.

“At York last year, Jon Flatman made a decision that he definitely did and that’s why York has gone to where it needed to be.”