Lindsay Anfield and Lois Forsell will share a piece of history on Sunday as rival head coaches in the Betfred Women’s Super League Grand Final – the first time both finalists have had a woman at the helm.
They are also two of the three contenders, with Warrington’s Lee Westwood, to be crowned the first BWSL Coach of the Year, one of two new awards that will be presented before the Men’s Betfred Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford on Saturday week – with Keara Bennett, Hollie Dodd and Fran Goldthorp in the running to be crowned the BWSL’s first Young Player of the Year.
Lindsay Anfield, who was recognised as a pioneer for women’s coaches when she received the first RFL President’s Award from Andy Burnham in 2019, has steered York City Knights to their first League Leaders’ Shield title, winning eight of their nine fixtures.
Lois Forsell, a former England international who was a member of the Bradford Bulls team which won the inaugural Women’s Super League in 2017, succeeded Adam Cuthbertson as head coach of the Rhinos in 2020, and after the loss of her debut season because of the pandemic they have now reached consecutive Grand Finals as well as the Betfred Women’s Challenge Cup Final at Elland Road earlier this year.
Anfield and Forsell are joined on the shortlist by Lee Westwood, Head Coach of the Warrington Wolves who have dominated BWSL2 winning all 12 of their matches, scoring 744 points and conceding only 30. They face Featherstone Rovers in the first match of Sunday’s double header at the Totally Wicked Stadium in St Helens, the BWSL Shield Final, with the winner securing promotion to BWSL1 in 2023.
All three contenders for the BWSL Young Player of the Year will be in action in the Grand Final – having met the criteria of being aged 19 or younger on January 1.
Hollie Dodd, still 19, has been outstanding in the second-row for York all season, and has already been included on the six-strong shortlist for the Woman of Steel award, having also excelled for England in their Mid-Season Internationals against Wales and France.
Keara Bennett, who turned 20 in April, has been a rising star for Leeds Rhinos since emerging from the RFL’s Diploma in Sporting Excellence Programme, establishing herself as a regular at hooker and earning her England debut against France in June.
And 19-years old Fran Goldthorp has been a regular for Leeds and England for several seasons, starring with two tries in their Grand Final win against Castleford in 2019, and maintaining her high standards throughout the 2022 campaign, mostly from the full-back position.
The six nominees to be 2022 Woman of Steel were announced before the BWSL Semi Finals, following consideration by a panel of experts from the media and the England Performance Unit.
The winner will be announced next Thursday (September 22), and will then be invited to Old Trafford as part of the BWSL Awards Celebration.
Woman of Steel 2022 – Shortlist
Jodie Cunningham (St Helens)
Hollie Dodd (York City Knights)
Amy Hardcastle (St Helens)
Sinead Peach (York City Knights)
Georgia Roche (Leeds Rhinos)
Tara Jane Stanley (York City Knights)
BWSL Coach of the Year Nominees
Lindsay Anfield (York City Knights)
Lois Forsell (Leeds Rhinos)
Lee Westwood (Warrington Wolves)
BWSL Young Player of the Year Nominees
Keara Bennett (Leeds Rhinos)
Hollie Dodd (York City Knights)
Fran Goldthorp (Leeds Rhinos)