WHAT a year it has been!

Head coach Lee Westwood is rightly proud of everyone’s efforts on and off the field after Warrington Wolves Women secured their Super League status at the first attempt.

The 40-4 triumph over Barrow in the Championship Final at Manchester Regional Arena on Saturday caps a stunning maiden campaign for a side that also won the league leaders’ shield and went through their league matches unbeaten after the opening-day loss at Barrow.

“The season’s been absolutely fantastic. They’re a great bunch of girls,” said Westwood, who is assisted by Warrington Wolves legend and namesake Ben Westwood.

“To get to the final was absolutely unbelievable.

“There was a bit of frustration in the game in that we kept turning the ball over.

“But it shows how resilient they are defensively, to have conceded only one try after turning that much ball over.

“But I can’t say how proud I am of all the players and staff.”

The team was only formed last December after staging trials.

But after hard work in pre-season and a couple of friendlies the journey began - and the team went from strength to strength as the season unfolded.

“We were watching a recording of the Huddersfield friendly game the other day and it was like the under sevens – they were all chasing the ball, and at the time it left me wondering what I’d let myself in for,” he said.

“And then we did some video on Huddersfield last week after playing them in the semi-final and some of the shape that we played, even though we spilled a lot of ball, was fantastic.

“To understand positional play, job roles and responsibilities was absolutely fantastic, and they’ve gone on to score some nice tries in the final as well.”

There has been a lot to learn throughout 2019, with a number of players being first-timers, others returning after a lay-off and some being talented athletes that have converted to rugby league from other sports.

Westwood says whatever their level and background, the women have been receptive to the guidance from the coaches throughout the year.

“We’ve got a great bunch,” he said.

“We haven’t got anybody that wants to be better than anybody else.

“They’re all pushing one another.

“And I think what that does to a team is exactly what we saw on the field on Saturday.

“There’s no one superstar. Everyone’s pushing everyone for a space every week.

“We had to leave four girls out of the final, but they understood.

“I’ve not seen that in boys’ rugby for a long time, so to see it in girls and they understand and still want to push their mates that are in their place is absolutely unbelievable.”

A good crowd got behind Wolves in the final, while more than 1,000 roared them home when the women made their first appearance at The Halliwell Jones Stadium in the semi final six days earlier.

Westwood is convinced the way the town has bought into his team is influencing the rapid progress made.

“I think that spurs them on, when we’ve got girls on the sideline asking for autographs,” said Westwood.

“There was a crowd at the final and the semi-final, and we’ve been getting 500 to 700 people at the Asics Stadium at Victoria Park.

“I think that drives the girls on.”