Caitlin Beevers. Young Player of the Year
During the final stages of the 2018 season the RFL asked me to provide media coverage of the Women's Super League at some high profile fixtures.
One of the fixtures I covered was York City Knights Ladies v Leeds Rhinos Ladies, where Leeds lifted the league leaders shield, and the second was Leeds Rhinos ladies v Castleford Tigers Women in a very entertaining challenge cup semi-final.
You can WATCH GRM highlights of these fixtures by following the links at the end of this article.
During both my Women's Super League encounters there was one lady in particular who impressed me with exceptional talent and confidence, despite clearly being the youngest and one of the smallest players on the field.
17 year old Caitlin Beevers from Gomersal, West Yorkshire, was recently named Leeds Rhinos Young Player Of The Year, and for good reason. Extremely confident under the high ball, Caitlin looked sharp in some very difficult situations. Caitlin Beevers was also the stand out player in attack and defence in many scenarios against players much bigger and with more experience.
I recently caught up with Caitlin to discuss her grassroots story and the Women's Super League.
What are your early rugby memories?
“ I started playing Rugby for Birstall Victoria at the age of six so it is rather difficult to pick out my earliest memory. I suppose one of the more memorable moments would probably have to be playing at Headingley at one of the fun day competitions the Rhinos foundation organise. Our team actually won that year.
How did you get involved with Leeds Rhinos Ladies?
“ I got involved with the Rhinos by going to a few of their development camps growing up, so when it was announced that they were making a Ladies and U19’s girls Academy I was invited along to the trials.
You’ve also achieved great things in a non-playing role as a match official.
“ My officiating had been going very well. I’ve regularly refereed junior community and ladies games and touch judged NCL and Academy games. Last year I was the first female to referee at Wembley Stadium when I took charge of the Champion Schools year 7 Final, which was a curtain raiser to the Men’s Super League Challenge Cup final. It was a great honour and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I was also the referee of the first all-female officiating squad to take charge of a Yorkshire Cup final.
The Women’s Super League had a very successful first season and was very competitive, what made Leeds Rhinos so dominant throughout the 2018 campaign?
“ Leeds Rhinos Ladies had a fantastic first year, winning the League Leaders Shield and the Challenge Cup Final. I think we were so dominant last year because we all just jelled instantly and played each game as a team. We have absolutely amazing Coaches, facilities and staff working tirelessly behind the scenes also making sure events like these are achievable.
To top off a great year as a team, you was also named Young Player of the Year, what was your initial reaction?
“ To be honest I was really shocked when it was announced I won young player of the year as there were definitely others worthy of this award. It’s a privilege to play at this high level at such a young age and I wouldn’t have had the successful season I had without the support and encouragement from my team mates.
Where do you see Ladies Rugby in the next 5 years?
“ The female game is growing year on year and there are lots of talented young players out there playing at grassroots level. This means there will be more players coming through the ranks and more competition for places within the Super League teams. Within five years from now and building for the World Cup in 2021 it would be good to have the profile of the Women’s game raised further by regular TV coverage. It’s already been announced that the Woman’s Final will be held as a curtain raiser to the men’s final at Old Trafford and that is a fantastic leap in the right direction. Ultimately though I would love to see the Women’s game become professional, just like the men’s.
What do you get up to outside of Rugby?
“ Rugby practically takes over my life 12 months of the year. If I’m not playing I’m refereeing or training. “
Thanks for taking the time to speak to GRM sport Caitlin! Wishing you all the best for this upcoming season!
Written by Shawn Boatin