Cunningham becomes Head of Women’s Pathways & Performance

St.Helens R.F.C. is thrilled to announce that our Women’s team and current England captain Jodie Cunningham has officially joined the Saints’ staff in a new role at the Club!

An iconic figure in the growth of Women’s & Girls Rugby League, Jodie Cunningham has been with the Saints since the formation year of our Women’s team in 2018 and has been an incredible ambassador for not only the Club but the wider sport as a whole.

Cunningham was named co-captain of St.Helens Women in 2019 before becoming sole captain in 2021, the year our team completed an historic treble with the Women’s; Challenge Cup, League Leaders’ Shield and Super League trophies. Furthermore, in that season she received the Woman Of Steel Award as the best player in the Betfred Women’s Super League.

Saints’ #13 is a proven leader, Cunningham has helped guide the Red V to an astonishing three straight Women’s Challenge Cups, the latest of which in 2023 saw our team make even more history by becoming the first women’s rugby league side to win at Wembley Stadium.

As a trailblazer and inspiration for more young players to participate in rugby league, Jodie has been working with the Rugby Football League for the past three years as the National Women’s & Girls’ Development Manager, strengthening pathways for player development.

Speaking with pride about working for the Saints, Jodie Cunningham told “It’s an exciting new role, I think it just shows the growth of the women’s game but also how seriously St.Helens as a club are taking the women’s game.

“To have somebody designated to look at the operations and the pathways specifically for the women and just pull everything together and make sure they’re fully integrated into the club and the performance department as well. It’s an exciting position and hopefully, I can do it justice!”

Jodie will continue to be a St.Helens player under Matty Smith, but the role does mean she will be working closer with the Saints Women’s boss.

“Hopefully being around the club more will give me a little bit more of a balance and being able to have access to Matty and help bring everyone along. I think this will help me personally be the best that I can be, by being around this environment on a regular basis.”

Given Cunningham’s experience with the RFL, but also with the Rugby League World Cup 2021, she will bring plenty to the role as St.Helens’ Head of Women’s Pathways & Performance.

“Specifically leading on the women and girls game in this role hopefully, I can bring all my experience, all the development that I’ve done there to a more local level in St.Helens and help grow the number of girls playing in St.Helens. Working with the community teams to make sure that pathways are all in place so that we have the best young talent coming through and feeding into this women’s side so we we’re lifting trophies in the near future but also for many years to come as well.”

Mike Rush, CEO of St.Helens R.F.C. welcomed Cunningham to the new role stating: “The growth of the women’s game is fantastic and has probably been faster than most could have expected, but not for Jodie who is a true trailblazer and one of our finest ambassadors for the entire sport of rugby league.

“Jodie’s role looks at the players who are here and now, but with a firm eye on the future and how we will be bringing through even more players to develop here at Saints, to become their best at Saints. We want all our teams to succeed at the Club and we keep aiming to develop our Women’s team to be the very best it can be.”

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