St Helens captain Jodie Cuningham to lead development of women's game
Jodie Cunningham has been appointed National Women’s and Girls’ Development Manager for the Rugby Football League, a new role which is as significant as it is exciting.
The St Helens Ladies captain has become an iconic figure in the development of the women’s and girls’ game in recent years, as a regular in the England team and in 2021 named the Woman of Steel after leading her club to a Challenge Cup and Super League double – as well as working for RLWC2021 as their community engagement lead.
Now she will play a leading role in the delivery of the RFL’s Women’s and Girls’ Framework for 2022-30, and strengthening all parts of the pathway.
Jodie said: “This is an amazing opportunity to do what I’m most passionate about – encouraging more women and especially girls to play Rugby League.
“There has been fantastic progress over the last few years, but I’m convinced this is the only the start.
“Rugby League is a brilliant game for women and girls to enjoy, and we have seen more and more people get behind the women’s game with growing fan bases and record crowds this year.
“With the platform of a home World Cup now in 2022, and the Women’s Super League and other competitions continuing to develop on and off the field, the challenge is to make the most of this opportunity.
“I’ve loved my role with the World Cup working on the Social Impact Programme for the last three years, which has done so much for all areas of Rugby League and its communities including Women’s and Girls.
“I’m excited about continuing to work closely with RLWC2021 and everyone else involved in Women’s and Girls’ Rugby League with that focus on maintaining momentum and taking the sport to new heights.”
Marc Lovering, the RFL’s director of participation and development, said: “The growth we have seen in the Women's and Girls game is such that it requires dedicated resource. Thanks to continued support from Sport England, we are now able to facilitate that.
“Jodie is the perfect person to inspire future generations of girls to get involved with Rugby League, as she has done herself.
“Her passion for the game is energising, and it’s great that she will be working for the RFL in such an important position – and at such an exciting time.”