THIS 'Thursday Throwback' feature focuses on women's rugby league.

Hopefully there will be a return to action as the year unfolds.

It felt like the ladies' game was really gathering momentum in 2019, with a strong Super League competition and Championship beneath finally gaining recognition, profile and support like never before.

This was good news as a lead into this year's Rugby League World Cup, scheduled for the autumn.

Then when the coronavirus pandemic struck last March the start of the new season was put on hold and the campaign eventually cancelled, while training for the 2021 season has now been suspended due to national lockdown number three.

The newly formed Warrington Wolves women's team captured the imaginations of the sport's followers, with healthy crowds getting behind Lee Westwood's team as they secured the Championship in 2019 and were preparing for their first shot at Super League in 2020.

They were inspiring a whole new generation of girls players at all age groups below them, with Victoria Park a hive of activity and a sight to behold on training nights.

Women's rugby league isn't new though, and there have been a number of teams in Warrington at a time when the ladies' game just wasn't registering with many observers for some reason.

Woolston Wildcats women's rugby league were around in the 1990s, and incidentally the aforementioned Westwood was their coach for a spell.

The first Warrington Wolves ladies team actually came about in 2002, formed by player coach and Great Britain international Jane Banks who was a community development officer at the club.

Her father Roger, who was secretary, confirmed it was the first women's team to be facilitated by a Super League club.

They finished their first league season, in 2004, top of Women's League Division Three.

Jane said at the time: "All the players have improved, developed with every game and done themselves and the team proud."

Barry Diggle and the Wolves community team helped with the coaching.

They played their home matches at Victoria Park, and Jane was also often assisted at training sessions by Wolves players Sid Domic and Danny Lima.

The Warrington Ladies team of 2008 competed in the newly formed Women's Rugby League Conference.

They played in the North West Division alongside the likes of Chorley Panthers, Halton, Hillside Hawks and Macclesfield.

Sadly the team disappeared and although the league provided a platform for the highs the game reached in 2019 it's growth was limited.

Crosfields Ladies were set up to play in the Conference, too.

Many of the girls who were crowned national champions while representing Newman High School played locally as seniors but moved to Thatto Heath Crusaders and St Helens, where they enjoyed great success and went on to star with the England national team - and some of them still do, including World Cup ambassador Jodie Cunningham and her St Helens Super League teammate Emily Rudge, the current England captain.