“EVERYTHING about coming here felt right to me!”

That’s the opinion of winger Eboni Partington, who is relishing a new challenge at York Valkyrie after making the switch from Betfred Women’s Super League rivals St Helens earlier this month.

The England speedster makes the move to the LNER Community Stadium having won one League Leaders’ Shield, the Women’s Super League Grand Final and a hat-trick of Betfred Women’s Challenge Cups – including the first to be held under Wembley’s famous arch this summer.

Partington returned an impressive nine tries in 16 appearances for Saints as they finished second in the Super League before suffering the most dramatic of defeats to beaten finalists Leeds Rhinos in the Play-off Semi Final.

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Making the decision to join the double-winning Valkyrie, who scooped a second consecutive League Leaders’ Shield and maiden Grand Final win in 2023, could not have been easier for the rising star.

“I’m really excited to be here and I’m looking forward to the new challenge,” she enthused after signing professional terms at York.

“I was anxious about moving because I loved my time at St Helens, but when the opportunity came up, everything about it felt right.

“The girls, Lindsay [Anfield, director of rugby] and Clint [Goodchild, chairman] have been really welcoming. Everything about coming here felt right for me.”

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The 21-year-old is more than familiar with the talent already in the Valkyrie’s set-up, having started all three of Saints’ matches against Anfield’s side in 2023, including their last-gasp victory in the Challenge Cup Semi Final.

And as she recalls, they were often her side’s hardest challenge.

“Those games were always our biggest challenge,” she admitted.

“You never knew what they were going to throw at you as they had so many strike players. They were always our toughest opponents over the last few years. 

“I’m excited to be part of that environment because you can see that they train hard and work hard on the field, which is what I want to do too to better myself as a player.”

“Winning the Challenge Cup with St Helens has given me a taste of what winning feels like and what it’s about. 

“You play the game to win, so I’ll be giving everything I’ve got to add value to the squad, become a better player and have a positive impact on the team. 

“Fingers crossed, we win some more trophies!”

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Partington’s move to the Valkyrie will see her re-establish her centre-wing partnership with fellow England international Tamzin Renouf, something she hopes will prove fruitful in 2024.

“I’ve enjoyed playing and training alongside Tamzin, both with England and England Knights,” Partington hailed.

“She’s a great player and a really positive person, so hopefully we can work well together next year!

“I’ve enjoyed playing different positions in the past, but I think that my strong points really show when I’m on the wing, whether that’s returning the ball, finishing tries or pushing around the middle. 

“Hopefully I can make a positive impact on the edges and I can nail down that spot on the wing.”