Gaines excited to make long-awaited Super League debut

Leeds Rhinos Women kick off their season this Sunday against local rivals and Super League newcomers Wakefield Trinity Ladies.  The long pre-season cannot come to an end soon enough for one Rhinos players who has waited over a year make her Rhinos debut.

Tasha Gaines, who joined the team last season after a successful trial, was ruled out at the before the start of their inaugural season with a long-term injury and the former Stanningley player says she can’t wait to finally pull on the blue and amber shirt for her Super League debut.

“It’s going to be a great experience and I am really looking to the start of the season.  I joined the Rhinos last year and was then out with injury so my Rhinos debut has been a long time coming so I am excited to make my first appearance in Super League.

“I tried out for the Rhinos and was thrilled to be selected for their first team, but then I had to have an elbow reconstruction, which ruled me out for 17 months.  It was a really hard time for me mentally, to not be involved on the pitch, but I loved being part of the squad and the girls and the coaching staff were really supportive, which helped.

“To have to deal with a huge set back I think has made me a stronger player mentally and showed me just how good the support at the club was for me.”

Gaines began playing Rugby League aged 10 after her cousin introduced her to the game.  She then went on to play for Middleton, Hunslet and Stanningley, where she helped the team to win the Championship in her last season with a player of the match performance in the final.

She made her come back from injury in the Rhinos’ two winning pre-season fixtures and hopes they can continue that winning form in their first game this weekend.

“It’s been a tough pre-season and we have all worked really hard and we hope that will all pay off in the first game against Wakefield,” said the Leeds born player.  “The message from Cuthbo and the coaching staff has been that we need to stick together and come together as a team this season.  The girls had a great first year and we want to kick on and develop even further.  It was hard to take losing out in the Grand Final in 2018 so we want to be up there competing for honours again this year.”

Before joining the Rhinos, Gaines had previous connections with the club, first as a supporter and then through working with their charity, Leeds Rhinos Foundation, where she could be credited as planting the seed for the formation of the Women’s team with former Rhinos coach Brian McDermott.

“I grew up supporting the Rhinos and actually was an apprentice with Leeds Rhinos Foundation when I was 16 and did some work experience with the ground staff which was a real highlight for me.  Now to be getting to play for the club is something I am proud to do.  I actually asked Brian McDermott when I was with the Foundation if there would ever be a Rhinos Women’s team and years later I’m getting ready to make my Rhinos debut.”

Leeds Rhinos Women take on Wakefield Trinity Ladies at Sports Park Weetwood, kick off 1pm.  There will be a Girls U12s Festival at 11am.  Prices are £5 for adults and concessions (senior citizens 65 & over and students) / FREE for Juniors aged 16 & under. Cash only on match day – tickets are not pre-sold for these games.

Before the game there will be a Family Fun Day at the Stables Pub from 11am – 1pm with discounts on food and drink with a selection of free soft drinks for kids, bouncy castle, Ronnie the Rhino, Leeds Rhinos Players Trent Merrin and Richie Myler.

Programmes – Team sheets will be handed out for free on arrival

Viewing areas – Standing around the pitch with a small seated stand which will be unreserved.

Parking – Limited, first come, first served. There is no charge to park. If there is no parking available at the venue, then fans must park in surrounding residential areas. Do not park at Weetwood Hall Hotel or on the grass verges on the ring road and respect the neighbours surrounding the venue. Limited Disabled Parking will be available onsite.

Food and Drink – There is a café onsite for fans to purchase food and drink (alcoholic and non-alcoholic). Fans who visit the Family Fun Day at the Stables Pub at Weetwood Hall Hotel prior to entering the venue cannot bring food and drinks across on Sports Park Weetwood from the pub.

Bag Search Policy – Bags will be checked on arrival – fans cannot bring their own alcohol.

Dogs – Dogs are not allowed at the venue with exception of Guide Dogs.