Wakefield Trinity Ladies’ prop, Steph Spence-Hirst, says last Sunday’s defeat to Oulton offered a “mixture of emotions” after making her long-awaited return.
After injuring her rotator cuff at the start of the offseason, Spence-Hirst made her first appearance in Red, White & Blue in the 2022 season on Sunday, slotting into the forward line at the Be Well Support Stadium.
Las, the day ended in defeat, knocking the side out of the Challenge Cup after some difficult game, but she was pleased to make her return.“There were so many mixed emotions after the game. I think it was mainly disappointment over the loss. but relief in being able to play after being out for so long with injury.
“Being able to pull that shirt back on felt so amazing. I feel like I’ve been waiting so long for it in my recovery and in doing it made me realise putting on that shirt means so much.”
Steph joined quite a few absentees on the treatment table, with both Becky Grady and Rachel Eastwood succumbing to injury before and during the pre-season campaign.
Watching your side play on the sidelines is never easy for any player and can bring battles much more than physical health.
However, with a good team spirit and support away from Rugby League, Spence-Hirst’s recovery was made that little bit easier.
“My mental health was affected by injury, especially getting injured so late into pre-season after all the hard work I’d put in,” she explained.
“It wasn’t an injury that could recover quickly from, but I allowed myself to keep focused through my rehab and keep myself in and around the training environment, which motivated me to smash my goals.”
Following a few games in her Loughborough College side at the back end of pre-season, Steph was ready and raring to go as she headed out onto the pitch in Trinity colours for the first time this campaign.
A big few hits got her back into the swing of things early on and it was like she has never been away, especially slotting into a relatively unknown outfit for the first time in 2022.
“I think I’ve slotted back in quite well, despite the fact I wasn’t involved with the pre-season games.
“We have a great set of girls this year. We are all adjusting well to each other’s game and there is a good spirit amongst the group.”
Onwards and upwards now, and after coming back into the side, Steph is eager to build on Sunday and is looking forward to a challenging Women’s Super League season in 2022.
“I think my goal for this season is to show what I am capable of.
“Being one of the younger members of the squad, it is quite scary for some, but I want to use it to my advantage and be a real credit to the team.
You can follow Wakefield Trinity Ladies’ 2022 journey by following their numerous social media platforms.