LINDSAY Anfield believes that yesterday’s 44-0 rout of Barrow Raiders was the reset that York Valkyrie needed after a tough start to the Betfred Women’s Super League season.

Victory moved the Valkyrie up to third, level on points with title rivals Leeds Rhinos and St Helens, but with a lesser points difference of 140 to the Rhinos’ 226.

Wigan Warriors still lead the way by two points, having played a game more than both the Valkyrie and Saints.

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Injuries, illness, and Woman of Steel Sinead Peach’s pregnancy all played their part as Anfield’s side suffered their first back-to-back defeats in three years in May, but this weekend’s performance showed glimpses that they were back to their best.

Influential full-back Tara Jane Stanley returned from a knee issue to score six goals and provide several assists, whilst teenager Evie Sexton and Canadian loose forward Megan Pakulis both caught the eye in a Valkyrie side still without England internationals Tamzin Renouf, Lacey Owen, Kelsey Gentles and Rhiannion Marshall through injury.

“I thought it was a strong performance in pretty difficult conditions, especially in the first half,” admitted Anfield.

“There were a few errors, but I suppose that was to be expected.

“We really wanted to reset the season today - we’ve had a long break - and I think we did that.”

York’s return coincided with some positional changes, with half-back Liv Gale given a first run-out in the second row, Remi Wilton partnering Sade Rihari in the halves, and Georgia Taylor a makeshift centre with Renouf, Carrie Roberts and Manqualo Komaitai all unavailable.

But even the torrential rain could not dampen their performance, with Gale breaking the deadlock on 12 minutes after the Barrow defence had let Stanley’s chip go to ground.

Savannah Andrade then barged over from close range before Georgie Hetherington and Emma Kershaw got in on the action to hand the Valkyrie a 20-0 half-time lead.

Winger Eboni Partington resumed their scoring seven minutes after the interval, with prop Liv Wood taking a handful of defenders with her underneath the posts on the hour.

Stanley then twice fed Kershaw to complete her hat-trick with a late flurry into the right corner before putting the icing on the cake with a penalty three minutes from time.

Returning full-back Tara Jane Stanley was characteristically influential for the Valkyrie.Returning full-back Tara Jane Stanley was characteristically influential for the Valkyrie. (Image: Craig Hawkhead Photography)

Despite being without a number of the club's big-hitters, Anfield was delighted to see their youngsters able to show what they could do against Barrow.

"Lacey's expected to be back within the next couple of weeks," the director of rugby confirmed. 

"Tamzin's probably got another six or eight weeks out with her elbow, and Rhiannion's got a knee knock.

"We did have a few out, and [the changes] were kind of forced, but it was great to see young Evie Sexton, Eva Izumi and Megan coming in. I thought she went extremely well.

"It's good that we have got that depth in our squad that we can manage without them."