St Helens win the League Leaders' Shield
St Helens won the League Leaders Shield and Grand Final, as well as the Challenge Cup, in 2021

Barrow Raiders and Leigh Miners Rangers are to join an expanded Women’s Super League competition in 2022.

Their involvement increases the number to 12 Super League teams, which will be split into two groups with promotion and relegation between them.

Barrow and Leigh will be in Group Two along with Bradford Bulls, Featherstone Rovers, Wakefield, and Warrington.

The top-flight will feature Wigan, Castleford, York City Knights, Leeds, Huddersfield, and champions St Helens.

The expansion to 12 teams was due to take place this year but was delayed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

“The Betfred Women’s Super League, like women’s and girls’ rugby league more generally, continues to be a good-news expansion story for the sport,” said general manager Thomas Brindle.

“Managing that growth provides challenges, and we have to be prepared to be flexible on occasions – as we were in recognizing the issues relating to Covid-19 that contributed to a number of postponements in the 2021 season, leading to the decision to split the league into two groups of five.

“Consultation with the clubs has confirmed a substantial majority in favor of building on that success, by maintaining the league as one competition split into two groups.

“We feel that will be the best way of maintaining intensity for leading players, which is especially important in a World Cup year, while also allowing clubs in the second group to develop at a more competitive level.”

Meanwhile, new teams are also being invited to apply for membership in Women’s Super League South, which was launched this year with six, with the aim of achieving a national pyramid structure by 2024.

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