The 2022 Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final will return to the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens on Sunday September 18.
Saints are the reigning champions, having clinched the BWSL title for the first time by beating Leeds Rhinos at Headingley last October – and maintained their dominance of Women’s Rugby League in England with an 18-8 victory over the same opposition in a compelling Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Elland Road this weekend.
St Helens missed out when the Grand Final was last staged at their stadium in 2019, losing to Leeds in the semi finals before the Rhinos beat Castleford Tigers in an all-Yorkshire title decider.
The 2022 Grand Final has been awarded to St Helens after an application process open to all BWSL clubs. The Semi-finals will be played two weeks earlier, on Sunday September 4, at Headingley Stadium – the venue for last year’s Grand Final.
No club has yet retained the Women’s Super League title so St Helens will not only be battling against some superb opponents but history itself as they look to win a second consecutive Super League title.
Rivals Leeds Rhinos will be looking to play in a fourth consecutive Grand Final having lost the 2018 and 2021 title deciders and winning the title themselves in 2019. There was no final in 2020.
The 2022 BWSL campaign kicks off next weekend, and will receive more broadcast coverage than ever through Sky Sports – who will show the next meeting between Saints and Leeds at Headingley in a double header with the men’s Super League fixture between the clubs, and have already been confirmed to show the Grand Final in September.
The BWSL has expanded from 10 teams to 12 in 2022, with Barrow Raiders and Leigh Miners Rangers joining a seven-team Group 2 which will also include Castleford following their decision to step down from Group 1 in the interests of long-term development.
St Helens and Leeds will be joined by Huddersfield Giants, Wigan Warriors and York City Knights in Group 1.
The winners of a Play-Off series will be promoted from Group 2 to Group 1 in 2023, with no relegation from Group 1 in 2022.
A revised fixtures list for both groups will be confirmed this week.
The Betfred Women’s Super League South, which was launched in 2021 with Cardiff Demons beating The Army in the inaugural final, also returns next weekend, with Oxford Cavaliers replacing Cornish Rebels in the line-up.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL Chief Executive, said: “Our congratulations and thanks go to everyone involved in making the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final such a memorable occasion.
“The attendance of 5,888 was a new record for a Women’s Rugby League fixture in this country, and the players of St Helens and Leeds Rhinos relished the atmosphere with a superb contest which showed what wonderful athletes and sportswomen they are – delivering an outstanding spectacle for the national television audience on the BBC.
“There could be no better way to set the scene for the return of the Betfred Women’s Super League next weekend – and it is fitting that the 2022 BWSL Grand Final will return to the home of the champions, St Helens, who have joined Leeds and other clubs in investing in the potential and importance of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League.
“We are also delighted that Sky Sports will show more live BWSL matches in 2022, including the Grand Final – in addition to England’s Mid-Season International against France next month which is so important in the countdown to the Rugby League World Cup this autumn.”
Mike Rush, the St Helens Chief Executive, said: “We are delighted to be staging the BWSL Grand Final at the Totally Wicked Stadium again in 2022.
“We are proud of our St Helens Women team and the part they have played in the development of Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League, as we saw again at Elland Road this weekend.
“They are wonderful ambassadors, for our town and our sport, and it’s great for St Helens that we have a superb facility at the Totally Wicked Stadium which is a fitting venue for major occasions like the BWSL Grand Final.”