Leeds teenager Fran Goldthorp tipped for top as a professional sportswoman - but not necessarily in rugby league

Fran Goldthorpe scored two second-half tries for Leeds in their Grand Final win over Castleford 
Fran Goldthorpe scored two second-half tries for Leeds in their Grand Final win over Castleford  Credit: PA

Leeds Rhinos teenager Fran Goldthorp has been tipped for the top as a professional sportswoman, although not necessarily as a rugby league player with careers in cricket and rugby union also beckoning.

The 16-year-old winger’s two second-half tries secured the Women’s Super League title for Adam Cuthbertson’s side as they beat Castleford Tigers 20-12 in Friday’s Grand Final at St Helens.

The victory saw Leeds complete the double having beaten their West Yorkshire rivals in the Challenge Cup final in July, a match which also saw Goldthorp get on the scoresheet.

Following her match-winning display in front of the Sky television cameras in Friday’s title decider, head coach Cuthbertson hailed Goldthorp as “an absolute natural talent” following the rich promise she has shown in the rival rugby code and cricket.

Newly-crowned Telegraph Woman of Steel Courtney Hill swapped a professional cricket career with Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League after moving to the UK to be with her partner, England cricketer Lauren Winfield.

Leeds celebrate clinching the title Credit: Getty Images

The 32-year-old Australian said of her team-mate: “Fran’s incredible - she's an all-round athlete, a wonderful rugby union player and a wonderful cricketer.

“I get to see that first hand and I think at such a young age she holds such high standards, hence why she is playing in the Super League at sixteen years old.

“Whatever sport Fran turns to, she will do well in because she’s got that inner drive and I’ll be following her in whatever sport she chooses to pursue.”

Goldthorp, who has played rugby union for West Park Leeds, was only called into the Rhinos' senior squad earlier this year due to an injury crisis but her star looks set to continue to rise.

Goldthorp was only called into the Rhinos' senior squad earlier this year Credit: PA

Given her own expertise in cricket, Hill has taken to nurturing Goldthorp with the bat and ball.

She explained: “I’m fortunate enough to have Fran in my team in the Yorkshire Development Squad.

“She’s involved and I coach there, so I’m very lucky to see how she develops as an athlete and as a person both on the rectangular pitch and the oval one. 

“I get a box set seeing Fran’s journey and I’m really proud of her.”

Asked which sport she saw Goldthorp choosing as her preferred option, Hill said: “We’ve had those conversations and I’ve told her to go with her gut because that’s a combination of your head and your heart.

“Just go with whatever you love right now and don’t think too far down the track. She will make those decisions and I’m awe in her. I’m her number one fan.”

Hill remaining tight-lipped on her own future following her recent admission that she is tempted to return to professional cricket after hinting the amateur nature of women’s rugby league was becoming unsustainable as a career choice.

The talented half-back was crowned the Woman of Steel - sponsored by the Telegraph - last Sunday despite only taking up the sport full-time two seasons ago.

Asked about her future, Hill said: “Let's make those decisions another day.

“They are genuine questions I have in my mind - I love rugby league and cricket so who knows? Let's come back to that in a month or two.

“It has been a very special week. Winning the Woman of Steel was lovely and to win the Super League title, I'll be buzzing about it for a very long time.

“Women's rugby league cannot take a backward step now and there is an audience here. We've got to keep pushing it out there.”