St Helens half-back and England international Zoe Harris said she is pleased at the announcement the club’s women’s players will receive match payments for the first time in the club’s history.

The 30-year-old has been a mainstay for the Red Vs since her senior debut in 2018.

And speaking to Merseysportlive, she acknowledged that news is a big step forward for women’s rugby league.

Harris said: “I think it’s absolutely massive.

“I mean we get compared a lot to women’s football, and I was at a careers day at a primary school, and a lot of the questions were like ‘women’s football is always on Sky Sports, do you play on Sky Sports?’

“It’s quite an awful thing, really, when they’re comparing it to us. And we only get two or three (televised) matches a year.

“I feel like this is going to boost everything massively, like Sky Sports should come on board a lot more, they more than likely will.

“You’ll see more of us on the telly, which puts it out for young girls to see, and want to play the sport, and can see what they can achieve and what they can be.

“I think it will be massive for girls’ rugby.”

The England international believes it could have as much impact on women’s rugby league as the 2021 World Cup did when England hosted the men’s, women’s and wheelchair tournaments.

“I think it’s (the match payment announcement) just as big.

“There’s nothing better than a home World Cup, but I mean the payments coming.

“I coach an under-16 team at Thatto Heath, and they’ve been speaking to me a little bit about it and it’s making them strive and want to push even further.

“They want to learn and get better at what they’re doing because they want to be at that high standard where they’re getting paid and they want it to be their job, they don’t want to be having to go to work.

“Hopefully in five years’ time, that’s something we see where it is a job for us and the young girls see it as something they want to be and that’s what they want to do.

“I think it’s a massive step forward for us, but it’s also a massive step forward for them (youth players) because what they can see is what they can believe and achieve then I do think it will make a massive difference.”

St Helens press conference, photo by Parth Jhaveri
St Helens press conference, photo by Parth Jhaveri