By Tom Murray
St Helens Women finished a dominant weekend in front of a record crowd with a convincing 28-0 victory against the former champions, Leeds Rhinos.
The victory came 24 hours after the Men’s side won the Super League Grand Final against Catalan Dragons.
The opening 20 minutes of the Women’s final were very dogged, with both teams struggling to get a foothold in the game.
In the 10th minute the newly crowned Woman of Steel, Jodie Cunningham, was sin-binned for a professional foul on Leeds’ Caitlin Beevers, as the full-back stopped her counterpart from playing a quick ‘play-the-ball’ from a 20-metre restart.
In Cunningham’s absence, Saints started to pile the pressure on Leeds’ dogged defence and eventually they got their reward.
Following a penalty for offside in eighteenth minute, Saints half-back Zoe Harris received the ball on the fifth tackle right on Leeds’ line and kicked the ball into the right-hand corner which was acrobatically finished by winger Leah Burke.
With Cunningham back on the field, it was only a matter of time before Saints scored again.
On the stroke of half-time, Cunningham broke through Leeds’ defence on the halfway line and scored a spectacular solo try.
Before the hour mark, Saints were in again.
Harris again kicked the ball into the corner and Burke finished off the move with another well-finished try.
After that, the floodgates opened for Saints.
A try straight from the restart by Amy Hardcastle was added to by Harris scoring in the 67th minute and Danielle Bush capping off a stellar performance by the champions in the 72nd minute.