St Helens RFC have announced players in their women’s team will receive match payments this season.

It is the first season in the club’s history that players in their women’s side will be paid since its formation in 2017.

The team have been successful in recent years, winning three consecutive Challenge Cups.

The club announced today (March 6): “Our women’s senior group continues to be trailblazers once again, becoming the first female players in Saints colours to receive payment for their on-field efforts for the club.”

St Helens chairman Eamonn McManus added: “It is deserved recognition for all the hard work of all the players who have got us to this point.”

Captain Jodie Cunningham believes the impact of today’s announcement will be felt across women’s rugby league.

“Today’s announcement isn’t just about what this means to us as individuals.

“It’s about all the young girls that we are making new and better things possible for.

“And it’s for all the women that went before us in women’s rugby league that weren’t supported and provided opportunities like we are lucky to have now at this great club, and as part of the Women’s Super League.”

2J78YTM Leeds, UK. 07th May, 2022. Tara Jones of Saint Helens makes a pass during the Womens Challenge Cup Final match between St Helens Women and Leeds Rhinos Women at Elland Road, Leeds, England on 7 May 2022. Photo by Simon Hall. Editorial use only, license required for commercial use. No use in betting, games or a single club/league/player publications. Credit: UK Sports Pics Ltd/Alamy Live News

Saints women head coach Matty Smith said he was delighted at the news.

“During my first year with them, I have seen first-hand how hard they work and they deserve this moment which has been a long time coming,” he added.

“To become the first women’s players in Saints colours to be paid by the club is a big step forward for the women’s game here, and something they should be proud of.”