Headingley will stage the Grand Final of the 2020 Women’s Super League in October.
The RFL has restructured the competition in an effort to provide more intense competition, especially in the closing weeks.
The competition has expanded for the third consecutive year since the competition was launched in 2017, with the introduction of Huddersfield Giants and Warrington Wolves producing a 10-team league.
This represents a 150% increase on the original pilot four-team competition.
As a result of that expansion, in 2020 the competition will split after nine rounds in mid-July, when all ten teams have played each other once.
The top four will then contest the Play-Offs, playing each other home and away to provide another six fixtures, and the top two will qualify for the Grand Final on 11 October.
That will again produce a bumper Grand Final weekend, as it follows the men’s Final at Old Trafford on 10 October.
The bottom six will contest the Shield, playing each other once to provide another five fixtures, leading to semi finals and the Shield Final which will also be played at Headingley as the first part of a double-header.
Points from the first part of the season before the split will carry over into both the Play-Offs and the Shield.
The season will begin on Sunday March 29 with a full round of five fixtures. Leeds Rhinos will launch their title defence against local rivals Bradford Bulls in a match that has been selected for live coverage on the RFL’s Our League platform, while Warrington’s Super League debut will be a local derby against Wigan Warriors, the 2018 champions.
St Helens will play Castleford Tigers in a heavyweight meeting of the top two from last season’s final table, while there will be another West Yorkshire derby between Featherstone Rovers and Wakefield Trinity – and Huddersfield, whose application for promotion from the Women’s Championship was accepted with that of Warrington, will travel to York City Knights in their first Super League fixture.
A full schedule of BWSL fixtures to be streamed live on Our League will be announced shortly.
Women’s Super League general manager Thomas Brindle said: ““After going out to tender in 2019, we committed to staging the Grand Final at Emerald Headingley for three seasons – 2019, 2020 and 2021.
“Logistics surrounding the involvement of England Women in the World Nines and the availability of Emerald Headingley led to a switch to the Totally Wicked Stadium, and we should place on record again our gratitude to St Helens who were outstanding hosts of the 2019 Grand Final.
“Now we revert to the remaining two years of our agreement with Emerald Headingley – an outstanding Rugby League stadium, which will be also be a leading venue in the Women’s Rugby League World Cup in 2021.
“The RFL BWSL management committee have taken the decision to split the competition after nine rounds to increase the intensity of that competition in late summer and early autumn, especially between the top four teams as they battle to reach the Grand Final – a decision which has also been welcomed by the England Performance Unit who believe it will benefit the elite women players in their preparations for the World Cup.”