Debut: Vs Wigan Warriors 12/05/2019
Grand Final: Winner 2019
Challenge Cup: Winner 2019
Awarded the number nine shirt for the 2021 season, Keara Bennett was one of a number of Rhinos players that has come through the Academy to debut for the Women’s first team in recent years.
Bennett was promoted to the first team during the 2019 ‘double’ season as the Rhinos clinched the Women’s Challenge Cup and Grand Final. After impressing on an academy trial, she caught the eye of Adam Cuthbertson and made her first team debut in a 12-4 win over Wigan Warriors in round four of the Women’s Super League. She went on to make most of her thirteen appearances during the season as an impact from the bench.
She played in every game leading up to the Rhinos lifting the Challenge Cup for a second consecutive season, including the Cup Final against Castleford, and on the final day of the league season, she scored her first try for the club against Wigan. The hooker then closed out the season by appearing in both the Play Off semi final win over St Helens and also the Grand Final win over Castleford. Featuring in both Finals is her most memorable rugby moment to date.
After the Betfred Women’s Super League was suspended due to Covid in 2020, for the following year Bennett came back into the action in round six against local rivals Bradford Bulls before making back to back starts against Warrington Wolves (where she scored her first try of the season) and Wigan.
Inspired to play rugby league after watching Castleford Tigers with her dad when she was younger and watching her brother play and always wanting to join in, Bennett started her junior rugby at Brotherton Bulldogs, where she received coaching from her mentor and head coach Lois Forsell thanks to the work of Leeds Rhinos Foundation, and then moved to Featherstone Lionesses.
The hooker and half back said that her dad was one of her biggest rugby influences growing up as he was one of her first coaches and has taught Keara most of what she know about the game. He always constructively criticises her after games to help her get better.
Bennett also found rugby success at school too. A former student at Castleford Academy, she was part of a squad that won the Yorkshire and National Finals four and five times. Besides rugby league, she has also played everything in high school, but played cricket and rugby union. She completed her A-Levels at Pontefract New College, studying PE, Biology and Health and Social, and is going to university to study sport and exercise science.
For any girl wanting to get involved in sport, Bennett said that she has met some her best friends through playing rugby and it gives you a sense of belonging being part of a team.