Vice-captain of the St Helens Women Tara Jones said she was delighted with the announcement of match payments to the women’s team from 2024 season.

St Helens announced on Wednesday their women’s first team players will receive match payments for the first time.

The team has been a major force in the game, winning three consecutive Challenge Cup titles(2021, 2022, 2023), lifting the League Leaders’ Shield in 2021.

They completed the treble in 2021 by winning the Super League.

Jones, a cornerstone of the Saints team since its formation, told Merseysportlive that she considers match payments to be a huge step forward but this is just the beginning.

She said: “It’s a massive step forward in the women’s game.

“Now, we are being paid as athletes, as female Rugby League players, is a massive step in the right direction.

“There are still steps to be taken and places for the women’s game to go to.

“We are at the match payments at the minute, can we get to full-time salary in the future? I believe so but I can’t put a timeframe on that.

“There are much more bigger decisions and conversations that need to happen on a bigger scale.”

St Helens Women vice-captain Tara Jones journey

Jones has come a long way in her career, from planning to quit rugby to becoming part of the first women’s St Helens team to be paid.

The 27-year-old dwelled on her journey and how proud she is to come to this stage.

England’s No.9 said: “From a personal point of view, I am really proud.

“As a young child playing rugby, I started off at a boys team. When I had to transition to a girls team, there weren’t many opportunities.

“There were hardly any teams and it was very difficult to stay within the game.

“Then I went officiating and I still referee the game but now to be paid as a player is unbelievable.”

St Helens Women’s welcome London Broncos at the Totally Wicked Stadium on March 16.

Saints’ Betfred Women’s Super League campaign kicks off against title holders York Valkyrie on April 21.