Jodie Cunningham and Lois Forsell ensured that Rugby League was well-represented at a special recording of BBC 5 Live’s Sports Panel focusing on a huge summer of women’s sport at Media City in Salford .
The St Helens, Leeds and England stars were invited to join a star-studded audience discussing the BBC’s Change the Game campaign – with the programme broadcast live on Sports Extra.
“It’s important for Rugby League to be in these discussions, and to have the chance to tell a wider audience about the progress we’ve seen in the women’s game over the last couple of years,” said Saints star Cunningham, who is also an ambassador for Rugby League World Cup 2021.
“It’s a huge year for women’s sport with two World Cups, in football and netball – and the excitement that’s already building around those tournaments is another example of the potential for us in the build-up to 2021.
“At club level we’re also seeing huge progress, with a great start to the Women’s Super League season, more matches being shown on Our League and Twitch, and a record crowd on Thursday night for the Coral Women’s Challenge Cup tie between Castleford and Featherstone.
“It’s an exciting time for all of us, and it’s great that the BBC recognise that – with the coverage we’ve had from their local radio stations and online, as well as the chance to be part of Change the Game.”
There was an added bonus for Cunningham and Forsell, as they grabbed a picture with Dame Kelly Holmes, the Olympic great who was a member of the panel.
The programme, hosted by Eleanor Oldroyd, also featured England netball coach Tracey Neville, three-time Paralympian and Strictly Come Dancing star Lauren Steadman, the Minister for Sport and Civil Society Mims Davies, and BBC Director of Sport Barbara Slater.
Great Britain long-jumper Jazmin Sawyers was the roving reporter – and received a crash course in Rugby League from Cunningham and Forsell after the recording – while the audience also included Simon Middleton, the former Castleford wing who is now the England women’s coach in rugby union.