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Iwanejko and Rainey on Tigresses debuts

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Castleford Tigers Women’s recent away match at Wakefield Trinity marked an incredibly proud moment for the Tigresses’ Academy setup and Dewsbury Moor as Alice Iwanejko and Maddison Rainey came off the bench to make their First Team debuts.

During an incredibly tight and hard-fought clash at the Be Well Support Stadium, Iwanejko and Rainey both made an instant impact bringing their youthful exuberance to the occasion as well as a couple of incredible carries.

The pair were both recruited into Castleford’s Youth system from Dewsbury Moor and have both reaped the benefits of being involved in the Tigresses pathway which was established to develop young players at the club with a focus on 16-19-year-olds as well as a Scholarship programme which caters for young players under the age of 16.

Powerful forward Iwanejko reflected on her first ever Betfred Women’s Super League run-out when speaking to castlefordtigersfoundation.co.uk and began by stating that she was pleasantly surprised at how well she was able to compete at the top level.

“To be honest I didn’t think I would play as many minutes as I did, and I was surprised at how I managed to put up a fight against some experienced Super League players. Although we ended up losing, I think the girls put up a really strong performance and it’s one of the best games we played this season so far.

“I was both nervous and excited before playing but thanks to my time playing at Dewsbury Moor, I had some experience playing against people who were wanting to play at that level.

Castleford Tigers Women’s setup is growing continuously, not just at First Team level but also in the club’s youth programme and the two recent debutants clearly identify that there are opportunities for player development with the Tigresses.

Being a young player making the move to their first Super League outfit can be a daunting prospect, however, Alice put forward that the positive environment within the pack made it an easy transition.

“The girls have been super welcoming since I’ve come into the setup here. Everyone gets along and everyone is really supportive. It’s always different when you come into a new club and seeing how much the entire setup has progressed has been really exciting.”

The 17-year-old has been co-captain of Dewsbury Moor’s Open Age side and the forward expressed her gratitude towards Dewsbury for playing a crucial part in her young career, by saying:

“They’re the club I started at, so I owe everything to them. A lot of my development as a player and a person is because of them and for them to put me as vice-captain has given me a lot more responsibility.

“It’s been nice to see how it all works behind the scenes as a young player and it’s given me so much knowledge on understanding how the game works.”

Matty Faulkner’s side are back in action as they host Bradford Bulls in their first home league game of 2022 and Cas’ young prop detailed what it would mean for her and her teammates to clinch their first victory of the season.

“It’s going to be a big game. At the match against Wakey, you could see how much we have progressed. I don’t think I could put into words how happy we would be to get that first win. We’ve put in so much hard graft over the last 6 months and showed teams that have been together for years that we aren’t a team that you can just step over.”

Back-rower Rainey also made an impression during her senior bow at Wakefield and when touching on making her maiden First Team appearance, the 17-year-old claimed that it was made even more poignant by joining her long-term friend Alice on the field.

“It was really good, and I really enjoyed it! It was a really good day all round because all of the team putting in such a good performance. Making my debut with Alice was special because she’s someone who I have been friends with for so long, it was a really good moment to have together.”

Maddison also began her rugby journey at Dewsbury Moor and like Alice, she affirmed just how much she owes the club for their impact on her development.

“I started playing rugby at Dewsbury and they will always be a club that I will have a lot of love for. All of the coaches have helped me the whole way through my rugby league experience. Coming to Castleford has been really good because they are a really nice bunch of girls.”

Both Iwanejko and Rainey could both make their home debuts on Sunday against the Bulls and in closing, Rainey explained how much of an honour it will be if she’s involved on the weekend.

“I am really looking forward to possibly making my home debut this weekend, especially with it being at Wheldon Road as well.”

Sunday’s game kicks off at 2pm and 2022 Members can get access to the fixture for FREE! Under 16’s also gain entry free of charge and for everyone else, it is just £5. Car parking is available at the stadium too priced at just £2.

Would you like to support and sponsor one of our Women’s players? Not only will you be actively supporting them, but you would also be supporting Castleford Tigers Foundation in its delivery of a whole host of programmes to help make peoples’ lives better.

Contact us for more information [email protected]

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