Barrow Raiders Ladies need no added motivation as they prepare to host Featherstone Rovers in the Betfred Women’s Super League play-off semi-finals this Sunday, says head coach Amanda Wilkinson.  

In their first season at this level, the Ladies have performed admirably, finishing second in Group 2 after winning nine of their 12 regular season matches.

Now they will lock horns with Rovers for the third time in 2022, in front of a home crowd and broadcast live on the RFL’s Our League app. Kick-off is at 12:00pm.

They met in the final round of the regular season back in August, with the Yorkshire side running out 14-10 winners after a hard-fought battle. 

Ahead of their play-off clash, Wilkinson says her side will have learnt a lot from their experiences throughout the year, and must try to play without fear and forget the occasion. 

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“This set of girls don’t need motivation,” she said. “They give it everything they have each time they pull on that shirt, and play with such passion and pride for each other and the club. 

“It was a great game against Featherstone two weeks ago, with both teams playing well. 

“The girls performed well but not well enough to get the win, and we’ve used our time to reflect and go again. 

“These girls have achieved so much this season. From where they were in the first session back in January for pre-season to how they train and play now is remarkable, and credit to them for all their hard work and commitment.”

The winner of Sunday’s contest will play either Warrington Wolves or Bradford Bulls for the right to secure promotion to Group 1 of the Women’s Super League. 

Wilkinson insists that regardless of how far her group go in the play-offs, they should feel nothing but pride.

“I’m really proud of each and every one one of them, as individually they have all grown into fuller players,” she said.

“To only lose three games all season and to secure second place in the table with a couple of games to go, I’m so happy for the girls. 

“It’s not about how far this team can go this season but how far they have come. We will keep the girls grounded and will prepare them the best we can for the semi-final. 

“We know what to expect and we know how good we need to be. It’s always about performance for me, and this team has not taken a backward step all season.

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“As a coach I will push them that little bit more, testing them mentally, physically, tactically and technically.”

The Raiders Ladies have also been a shining light for female rugby league in Cumbria, paving the way for girls across the county to take part in the 13-woman sport.

With girls aged 6-16 playing for the Raiders and the club’s reserves side helping form a stronger pathway to the first team, Wilkinson believes the future of the sport is bright across the region. 

“Being a Cumbrian and coaching my first ever Cumbrian team has been such a wonderful experience,” she added.

“And for the Ladies to be promoted last season and be the first ever Cumbrian team in Super League and compete the way they have shows the strength and growth of the women’s game here in Cumbria.”

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