THE Women’s Super League gets underway this weekend and for Warrington Wolves, the target is clear.

With a newly-expanded competition split into two groups, they aim to regularly test themselves against the best.

They have done just that throughout pre-season, the Women’s Challenge Cup and the recent Nines tournament, regularly coming up against power-base sides such as St Helens, Leeds Rhinos and York City Knights.

In order to do that more regularly, however, they must earn promotion from Group Two and their quest to do just that starts with a trip to Barrow Raiders on Sunday.

“We’re in a really good place,” head coach Lee Westwood said.

“We recruited quite a few players in the off-season and we had a really tough pre-season. I wanted to challenge the girls, hence the friendlies against Leeds, York and Saints.

Warrington Guardian:

Fern Davies, a former netballer who represented Wales at the Commonwealth Games before switching to rugby league, is one of Warrington Wolves' new signings. Picture by

“We wanted to see where they were at in comparison to those big teams as opposed to playing lower teams.

“We’re going in the right direction but we’ve got to be consistent.

“We feel we’ve got a great squad and if we can keep improving week after week, we’ll get there.

“I’m pretty confident with the group we have that wants to work hard for one another that we’ll end up in that top group by the end of the year.

“The club’s bought into the women’s game massively now, which is really good for the girls. They train at the first team facility and they get treated like professionals.

“They want us to be up there, so there’s no doubt we want to be getting promoted and playing against the top teams next year.”

The Wire have met Barrow twice already this year and have triumphed on both occasions.

They won 36-16 in the Challenge Cup, in which they finished second in Group A to holders St Helens before losing at Leeds Rhinos in the quarter-finals, before a 14-4 win in last month’s Nines tournament.

Warrington Guardian:

The Wire beat Barrow Raiders - their opponents for this weekend's opening Super League fixture - during the Women's Nines tournament at Victoria Park over the Bank Holiday weekend. Picture by

Ahead of their trip to Cumbria, Westwood believes his side have been growing nicely.

“Our first goal was to get to the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup, which we achieved, and our next one now is to take each week as it comes in the league,” he said.

“The girls we’ve brought in have worked really hard through pre-season. It didn’t take them long to fit in, which made it much easier for us as coaches.

“We worked a lot on defence and even though we’ve played some tough teams, we’ve got a lot of positives out of it defensively.

“Offensively, we’re just starting to get things together where we’re playing some nice rugby.

“We played St Helens in the Nines tournament and we were able to throw the ball around a little bit. It’s coming together ready for the start of the season.”

For their second season in the top flight, Warrington will be in Group Two alongside Barrow, Featherstone Rovers, Bradford Bulls, Leigh Miners and Wakefield Trinity.

At their own request, Castleford Tigers also appear set to be demoted to the bottom group to make a seven-team division.

The Wire finished eighth in 2021 as the women’s game returned following the pandemic.

“The team changed pretty much every week – particularly in the spine – and we used over 30 players,” Westwood said when asked about the lessons learned from their first Super League season.

“You can’t do that if you’re going to compete in Super League.

“That wasn’t all down to us as Covid played its part, but we did get a lot of experience playing against top teams and we’ll be better for that moving forward.

“When we recruited, we were very specific about trying to get young players with potential in and trying to get that potential out of them.”