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Anfield on 2023 success, pre-season and 2024 ambitions

York Valkyrie completed their first block of pre-season last week, with the reigning Betfred Women's Super League champions raring to go ahead of their title defence in 2024.

We caught up with Director of Rugby Lindsay Anfield to discuss pre-season training, the close-season recruitment and the latest on injuries within the squad.

How is pre-season going so far and how are things behind the scenes?

“We decided to train for a month before Christmas. The international players had a little bit more time off. We wanted to touch base with the players, get them moving and touching a ball again before the Christmas break and our pre-season really starting to gear up from 8th January.”

What’s the mood like in the camp after such an incredible season in 2023?

“Really good. You can tell that there’s no air of complacency or anything like that from the girls. They’ve trained as hard in the past month as they ever have done, which has been great to see.

"Some of the girls had six or seven weeks off, and they’ve come back in good shape. They’ve certainly not slacked off or took their foot off the gas.

"If anything, they’ve come back even hungrier and they're excited about what next season can bring.

“With the success that we’ve brought to the Club so far, if we go down a peg or two next year, then we’re not doing what we set out to do. We’re aiming to be consistently dominant.

“Hopefully we can go one better next year and get to Wembley, that’s certainly the aim.”

How will your preparations change after Christmas?

“We’ll be training three times a week from the New Year until the season starts, so I’ll be seeing the girls a lot!

"It worked really well for us last year and the girls managed it well with their work and home commitments. 

“Training three times a week is a big commitment too. A lot of the girls have kids and are either working or in education full-time.

"For some of them, they’re out of the house at 6am and not back in until 9pm/10pm. Given that, it’s my job to make training enjoyable for them and all looking forward to coming.” 

A number of players have earned professional contracts with the Club during the offseason. How pleasing a step is that for the women’s game?

“It’s a really big milestone and I think that a lot of other Clubs will be following suit, whether that be this year or next year or two.

“In terms of the girls’ commitment, nothing really changes. They’ve always been committed to the Club.

“But it’s great to see and fantastic for the women’s game. We’ll be striving to continue to deliver strong performances on the back of that.”

You’ve brought England international Eboni Partington into your squad from St Helens. How has she settled in so far?

“Eboni has been brilliant and she’s got a great personality and has really fitted into our high-performing culture. She’s focused and she’s dedicated.

“We’ll be adding a handful of new faces to the squad for 2024 too, which will be announced in the New Year.”

Watch every York Knights and York Valkyrie home league match with a 2024 York RLFC Season Ticket! For all information on 2024 Season Tickets, please click HERE!


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