KEIGHLEY Albion have launched their new girls section at the club ahead of the 2021 season, with several announcements and features on their social media.

The new Albion Girls section will cater for those aged 12 to 16 (school years 7-11), creating a full pathway from their mixed gender primary age groups through to open age ladies rugby league.

Alongside the new girls pathway, the club is also planning to launch a ladies winter open age team in 2021.

Keighley Albion first introduced a ladies team in the late 1990s.

Initially established as the Keighley Albion Cats, the ladies team proved to be a great success for the club both on and off the pitch.

In 2019, Keighley Albion Ladies had the most successful season in the history of ladies rugby league in the town, as they reached the quarter finals of the Challenge Cup and gained promotion to the Ladies Championship.

One player who had a tremendous season in Albion colours in that 2019 campaign was the club's newly-appointed head of girls rugby Emma Templeton.

Scoring 29 tries in all competitions, her season ended with her picking up international honours, as she made a try-scoring debut for England Community Lions in their test match against Wales.

It was inevitable that her performances would attract the attention of Women’s Super League scouts, and a few weeks ago, she achieved her ambitions of securing her place in the elite league with a 2021 contract at Wakefield Trinity.

Templeton is the second current Super League player to be recruited to Albion's senior coaching team in the past couple of weeks, following the announcement that fellow Trinity star Jack Croft will be coaching the under-18s academy.

She will be involved in both the coaching and the running of Albion's girls teams, as they look to develop and progress female rugby league athletes through the pathway system.

It will also help fulfil her passion for working with youth players at the club - helping them progress both on and off the field.

Despite only just being announced as the club's head of rugby, she has wasted no time in the position, and has already recruited experienced 2019 Albion Ladies captain Jodee Loader as part of her coaching staff.

The club also has a brilliant reputation for developing and producing fantastic ladies rugby league players, many of whom went on to achieve representative honours.

These include Sarah Shillito (Great Britain and Yorkshire), Laura Ackroyd (Yorkshire), Samia Hussain (Yorkshire), Templeton (England and Yorkshire) and Ellie Kildunne (Gloucester and England RU).

England rugby union star Kildunne began her career as a six-year-old at Albion, but as there wasn’t any girls teams for her after the age of 11, she changed codes to play rugby union.

She transitioned her league skills to union fantastically well, and became an international star.

Kildunne also scored a breathtaking try on her debut for Wasps against Harlequins last Saturday.

It is hoped with the new Albion Girls section, more females can be retained in league when the sport changes to gender specific age groups at u11s.

Ladies rugby league as a whole is currently flourishing, with participation numbers increasing rapidly throughout the UK, and the Women's Super League introducing a three-tiered league structure.

Albion have already showcased several video message endorsements for their new girls section too.

These came from the likes of rugby league legend Martin Offiah, current England Ladies captain Emily Rudge, England and St Helens star Jodie Cunningham, Keighley and Ilkley MP Robbie Moore and Leeds Rhinos vice-captain Danika Priim (who has also joined the Albion Girls section as an ambassador and part-time coach).

The club will be hosting taster sessions in November (9:30-10:30am every Saturday) for the girls section, ahead of a full launch in 2021.

These sessions will be for girls in school years 7-11.

For more information, please directly message the club's Facebook page.