Birthday girl Caitlin Beevers hailed the big-game mentality of her team-mates as Leeds Rhinos completed the women's rugby league double, writes Elizabeth Botcherby.
Rhinos had edged out Castleford in the Challenge Cup final and were good value for their 20-12 victory over Tigers in the Betfred Super League Grand Final too.
Castleford led narrowly at half-time but player of the match Fran Goldthorp's try double and Ellie Frain's score switched momentum for Adam Cuthbertson’s side.
“It’s such a big occasion and after last year, losing to Wigan, it’s an awesome comeback," said Beevers, who celebrated her 18th birthday.
"It’s a massive achievement and we’re definitely a big game team now. If you look at our semis or finals we tend to come back and on massive occasions we like to show our skill and I think we did that again."
Beevers will now join forces with six Castleford players as England take on Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guineas in the World Cup 9s in Sydney next week.
"I’m a bit nervous but playing for your country is a massive honour and it’s something I’d never expected," she added.
"I’d like to think England can go all the way – we’ve got the potential, we’ve got the speed, we’ve got the strength. It depends on whether we broadcast it on the day and I think we will.”
— Leeds Rhinos (@leedsrhinos) October 12, 2019
Meanwhile, Castleford boss Lindsay Anfield was left lamenting mistakes as her side let another big occasion slip from their grasp.
And she vowed next season would be different, even if it meant a more boring approach.
“Our girls did themselves justice and played some good rugby but they let themselves down with too many errors and too many missed tackles, which we’ve spoken about for the last six months,” she said.
“The fact that yet again that’s what is letting us down is an issue but at least we know what we’ve got to do for next season.
“You’ve got to find a way to win in these games and sometimes it’s maybe more boring rugby than we breed at Cas but at the same time people want trophies.
“There are still loads of positives to take out of the season."
Rhiannon Marshall, who will be part of the England team Down Under, is also predicting a big future for Castleford, who won 13 of their league games this season but ultimately fell short in two big matches.
“The results of the season are 100% a massive platform for next season," she said.
"I think five of us were new this season whereas Leeds have loads of experience. We’ve got this under our belt now. We know what we’ve done wrong and what the pressure is like and we need to try and move forward."