THE Betfred Women's Super League will expand again in 2022 with the addition of Barrow Raiders and Leigh Miners Rangers, who finished first and second in the Women's RL Championship in 2021.

There were rumours that last year's bottom two, Bradford Bulls and Wakefield Trinity, might look to drop out of the top flight for next season to regroup, but both are staying put in this new, bigger league.

The pandemic delayed the planned expansion in 2021 but the league will now comprise 12 teams, a 200 per cent increase since its launch as a four-team Super League in 2017.

The league will be split into two groups of six teams, with promotion and relegation between the two.

Shield winners Huddersfield will be in Group 1 alongside champions St Helens, Wigan, Castleford, York and Leeds, while Barrow and Leigh Miners will be joined in Group 2 by Bradford, Featherstone, Wakefield and Warrington.

Thomas Brindle, the BWSL general manager, said: "The Betfred Women's Super League, like women's and girls' rugby league more generally, continues to be a good-news expansion story for the sport.

"Consultation with the clubs has confirmed a substantial majority in favour of building on that success, by maintaining BWSL as one competition split into two groups.

"We feel that will be the best way of maintaining intensity for leading players, which is especially important in a World Cup year, while also allowing clubs in the second group develop at a more competitive level.

"The continued ambition of clubs in Group 2 will also be recognised by the introduction of one up, one down promotion and relegation between the groups for 2023."