By Jonny Bray
Few people are prouder of Emily Rudge and Jodie Cunningham's performances at the 2021 World Cup than rugby league legend Jane Banks.
The international star coached Rudge at St Peter's Primary School before mentoring the pair at Cardinal Newman Catholic High School and Warrington Wolves.
Both players started in the 72-4 win against Brazil in England's opener and in the 42-4 win against Papua New Guinea.
They are also expected to start in the semi-final clash against New Zealand at York Community Stadium.
And Banks has said that it is great to see two players she helped along the way reach the pinnacle of women's rugby league.
She said: "It has been amazing to see how much they have achieved with England.
"It has been great to see them grow through the sport, and again, without that platform, who knows where they would be right now?
"So, I think it is nice to give something back, and it is amazing that they have had such incredible careers. It is really great to see.
"They are two players that I have coached through primary and high school, it is nice to see them come through the ranks, and I think that they are going to be the ones to watch really.
"It definitely shows that if you put the investment in, we will produce the players.
"The National Lottery, for example, have invested £9.3 million into rugby league, and that has given us a platform for the next five years."
No northern hemisphere side has reached the World Cup final since Great Britain at the inaugural tournament in 2000.
However, New Zealand have already lost one game during the World Cup, a 10-8 defeat in a closely-fought contest against Australia in Pool B.
England won all three of their pool games in convincing fashion, and Banks believes that they have what it takes to pull off an upset against New Zealand.
She added: "England have played well in all three of their games, so hopefully, it has been a big confidence boost.
"They have come together well as a team, but it is going to be a tough challenge.
"I have played the Kiwis myself so I know what they can expect.
"But I think they will hopefully be able to pull it off.
"I think they need to get up in their face in the first 20 minutes, literally let New Zealand know what they can do by getting right up in their faces.
"If they do that, they will hopefully be set for the final on Saturday.
"Anything can happen on the day, it all boils down to 80 minutes and I think that a lot of it will come down to who comes out firing so let's just hope England will do that.
"It is just making sure that we have done our homework and hopefully it will all come together."
The National Lottery are an Official Partner of the Rugby League World Cup 2021 (RLWC2021). As part of this, they have provided financial support to clubs & communities across England through the RLWC2021 CreatedBy Grants Programme, contributing over £750,000.