York City Knights Ladies full-back Tara Jane Stanley has been named as the 2022 Betfred Women’s Super League Woman of Steel.
29-year-old Stanley has impressed throughout this season – her first with the Knights – with her dominant showings proving pivotal in our League Leaders’ Shield-winning campaign.
On top of that triumph, she was a key player in the team that became the inaugural winners of the Women’s Nines competition in July and helped the team to both the Challenge Cup Semi-Final – where she opened the scoring with a try against Leeds – and Grand Final.
With several England appearances to her name, Stanley’s international quality will no doubt be shown again in this year’s Rugby League World Cup with England looking to shine on home turf.
On being named Woman of Steel, Stanley said: “I’m stunned and humbled to have won the award.
“When you look at the quality of the players in contention, just to be on that shortlist was a big honour.
“As a full-back, you don’t get to shine without a big effort by the rest of your team, and although we were disappointed to lose in the Grand Final at the weekend, it was a great achievement for us to finish top of the table.
“I wouldn’t be able to win this award without the performances of Sinead and Hollie, who were also on the shortlist, and everyone else who has contributed.”
In addition to Stanley’s York team-mates Sinead Peach and Hollie Dodd, the other three players on the shortlist were Georgia Roche of Leeds Rhinos, and the St Helens team-mates Amy Hardcastle and Jodie Cunningham – who was the 2021 Woman of Steel.
Now all six of the candidates are expected to link up in the England squad for this autumn’s Rugby League World Cup – with the England Women head coach Craig Richards to name his squad next Monday (September 26).
“It’s been a great season, but it definitely isn’t over,” Stanley added. “We’re all a bit nervous until we get the call from Craig, but after playing in the last two World Cups in 2013 and 2017, I’m so excited about having the chance to play in a third – especially at home in England.”
Woman of Steel, roll of honour
2018 – Georgia Roche (Castleford Tigers)
2019 – Courtney Winfield-Hill (Leeds Rhinos)
2020 – no award (Covid)
2021 – Jodie Cunningham (St Helens)
2022 – Tara-Jane Stanley (York City Knights)