Five UCLan students to play for Wigan’s first ever women’s team in 2018 Super League
Five students from the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) have been selected to play for the first ever Wigan Warriors Women’s team.
The students; Charlotte Foley, Freya Hellin, Kate McMullan, Christina Tully and Georgia Wilson, will join a squad of 23 players that will play under head coach Amanda Wilkinson in the 2018 Women’s Super League.
They were chosen from more than 100 women who turned up for trials at Wigan following the Club’s commitment to growing the game of rugby league. Initially the team will be an open-age side with the Club looking to create a youth development structure going forwards.
The students are on a range of courses at UCLan, including sports studies, physiotherapy and policing, and three of the players; Kate, Christina and Georgia, also currently play for local rugby union club Preston Grasshoppers RUFC.
Final year physiotherapy student Christina Tully, who also plays union for England Deaf Rugby and will take part in the World Deaf Rugby 7s in Australia in April, and will play on the wing.
Trials were attended by almost 100 participants from all over the North of England, even attracting one young lady from as far away as Suffolk!
She said: “I’ve always loved rugby and played for my home team in Keswick before coming to UCLan so this is a very exciting move. I’ve not played league before but the coaching is excellent and all the girls are very encouraging which makes switching codes less daunting. When I first step out onto the pitch I’m sure it will be a surreal and memorable moment.”
Speaking about the quality of the squad Head Coach Amanda Wilkinson, who is the only level three female rugby league coach, said: “It’s been a great couple of months creating this Wigan legacy.
"Trials were attended by almost 100 participants from all over the North of England, even attracting one young lady from as far away as Suffolk!
“There was a real mix of ability and experience which was great to see. Athletes with little or no Rugby League experience, women hoping to make the move from union to league and even a professional footballer wanting to try out the sport.
“It really did come down to the final whistle as the women competed for the final places to wear the famous cherry and white.”
The University already has a long-standing history with the famous Super League Club and has been the ‘Official University of Wigan Warriors’ for the last ten seasons. UCLan staff and students work with players and staff, providing pre-season fitness tests, video analysis support and several University degree places for its staff.
The Head of the School of Sport and Wellbeing at UCLan, Dr Adrian Ibbetson, commented: “This is an exciting development for Wigan and it’s fantastic that our students can play a part in it and be ambassadors for the University.
“They are great role models for women in a sport that traditionally was very male orientated but is now making great strides in terms of inclusion. UCLan already has a great relationship with the Warriors and seeing our students represent the club in the Women’s Super League will be a very proud moment for the University.”