Butcher named Vice Captain of Leeds Rhinos Women

Last year Courtney Hill and Hanna Butcher were named the joint Rhinos Women’s Players’ Players of the Year and next season the pair will team up to bring their leadership skills to the team after Butcher was named Vice Captain alongside captain Hill.

Butcher has been one of the team’s most consistent and outstanding performers since the creation of the Leeds Rhinos Women’s team, helping them to win two Challenge Cups and a Grand Final and has been rewarded by the Rhinos coaches with the vice captain’s armband.

The Dewsbury born player, who captained the team last season in the absence of Courtney Hill, said to be given the role is something she is privileged to do.

“It’s a great honour to be named Vice Captain and I’m very grateful for the opportunity,” said Butcher. “Within our roles as half backs communication is key for Courtney and myself and we need to be organised. We are lucky to be assisted with a senior players group that get together regularly and it’s our aim to keep the standards high both on and off the field.  The squad is looking good at the moment in pre-season and everybody is working hard towards individual and team goals so it’s a privilege to be part of.”

Butcher is currently leading the way in training, with Hill in Australia after playing in the NRL 9s with Sydney Roosters, but she says she is looking forward to working alongside the Australian.

“It’s very exciting to be doing this alongside her. I find Courtney very inspiring, she does some great pre-match pep talks and is always really encouraging. I filled in as captain last year for a couple of games and we found out I’m not a woman of many words when it comes to speeches but I can count down from three and shout “Rhinos!” really loud,” joked Butcher. “I think the girls found that really amusing!  I think Courtney and I are both very consistent in training and I’d like to think we are easy to talk to and give off good vibes.  We’ve been messaging whilst she’s in Australia and she’s been checking in to see how everyone is getting on.”

Last year the vice captain’s position was held by Lois Forsell who, after suffering a career ending injury, has now made the switch to head coach, taking over from Adam Cuthbertson.  Butcher, who played with Forsell during her first season with the Rhinos is backing her to make the job a success.

“I think everybody is really excited to work with Lois as a coach,” said Butcher.  “Lois has always been a mentor for the players, she’s knowledgeable and has a lot or playing experience under her belt. It’s been great to see her in the coaching role, I think it’s very natural for her and she has everyone’s full respect. She has a lot of time for everybody and is very passionate about the squad and what we need to do moving forward so the future is looking bright.”

Last season the Rhinos secured the Challenge Cup and Grand Final in just their second year together as a team and Butcher says they have set targets for 2020.

“As a team we are just looking at improving from last season and getting the little things right first and foremost.  Our overall aim will be to go and get the treble this year but we will need to lay the foundations first and keep our standards high throughout the first round of games in order to get a place in the top four. We’re a close bunch and we’ve all sat down together and discussed our aims and how we plan on achieving them so I’m sure if we continue working hard and stick to the plans in place we can do it.”

The Leeds Rhinos Women’s season kicks off on 29th March with a home tie at Sports Park Weetwood against Bradford Bulls.