LINDSAY Anfield has called for York Valkyrie to sharpen up in their bid lay down a marker against title rivals St Helens in the sides' Betfred Women’s Super League opener on Sunday (12pm).

The Valkyrie sailed through into the semi finals of the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup with a 70-0 thrashing of newly-promoted Featherstone Rovers, but their return to the LNER Community Stadium was not without errors, which at one point saw them forced to defend four consecutive sets within their own half.

Those mistakes presented Featherstone with their only real opportunities, with the gulf between the sides evident, but the Valkyrie’s defence stood firm to record their first clean record of the season.


Anfield has delivered some home truths to her side this week, admitting that any such errors will undoubtedly be punished by Saints.

She told The Press: “It was quite frustrating really because the week before when we played Featherstone, I thought it was a pretty good performance. We were good in offence, defence, everything was urgent and everyone did their role.

“But this weekend just gone, it’s like everything that we’d learned had just gone out of the window and they did what they wanted.

“We had a good review of it all last night and I think that we’ll right some wrongs at the weekend.

“Certain bits were really good and some people might look at it and say it was a great scoreline, but we’re not really interested in the scoreline, it’s more the performance so that we know what we need to do, collectively and as individuals to perform against the top teams.

“But we just didn’t do that against Featherstone last week, so that was really disappointing.”

York Press: The Valkyrie eased into the Women's Challenge Cup semi finals with a 70-0 rout of Featherstone Rovers last weekend, but it was not without its errors.The Valkyrie eased into the Women's Challenge Cup semi finals with a 70-0 rout of Featherstone Rovers last weekend, but it was not without its errors. (Image: Craig Hawkhead)

The Valkyrie threw down a gauntlet when they headed to Leeds Rhinos on the opening day of last season, gaining revenge for their Grand Final defeat with an outstanding 34-12 victory at Headingley.

That win seemed to set the tone for a campaign that saw them drop points just once – a 12-12 home draw with the Rhinos in July – on their way to a second consecutive League Leaders’ Shield and maiden Grand Final triumph.

The current Women’s Super League Coach of the Year is keen for her side to make their intentions clear from the outset again this time around, but she conceded that with St Helens also sailing through in the Challenge Cup, neither side really know what to expect from each other.

She explained: “We always come off pre-season really well to be honest, it’s more through the season that people tend to catch up. That’s been the story for the past few years.

“I’m hoping that we can do the same this year, starting with Saints, but we don’t really know anything about them with how their pre-season’s gone. It’ll be interesting.

“I suppose the reality is, we’re all in the same boat – they’ve had some pretty big scorelines and I’m sure their coaches will be feeling the same.

“They don’t really know what the players will do going into a game where it’ll be set for set and you have to actually manage the scoreline and all aspects of the game, you can’t just do what you want and get a big win.”