Salihi: Already see a difference

  • Warriors Women’s full back Beri Salihi reflected on her first season in the Wigan first team.
  • Salihi: “I think I’ve settled in to playing at this level quite well now and I can already see the difference it’s made in my ability and confidence.”
  • Wigan Warriors Women v York Valkyrie, Robin Park Arena, Sunday 20th August, 12pm K.O.

Wigan Warriors Women’s Beri Salihi spoke to about her first season in Super League, starting at full back for the Club and the team’s aims for the remainder of the season.

Salihi was handed the number 1 shirt for Wigan ahead of the season, at the age of just 17: “At first I found the game to be a lot more physical especially during the pre-season friendlies. It was more demanding on my body but after working with the Coaches and Daz (Marsh) I’ve become a lot stronger and fitter which has allowed me to fit into Super League and the Wigan squad quite well.”

Beri Salihi is presented her shirt by players sponsors Wigan Rugby Heritage Society at the Women’s Season Launch.

She added: “Mentally it was a big step up for me too, especially playing full back for the Club regularly there was a lot more pressure for me to perform well. However, pre-season with the girls really helped me settle into the team and since then I’ve really enjoyed playing in the Super League and the experiences I’ve had so far.

“I think I’ve settled in to playing at this level quite well now and I can already see the difference it’s made in my ability and confidence.”

On her highlights so far in 2023, she said: “I’ve had a few highlights playing for Wigan so far including making my debut in Super League. Another highlight was when we were drawing away at Featherstone in the Challenge Cup, there wasn’t long left in the game and we got a penalty to the right of the posts – the whole team believed that I could get the kick and kicking that goal to get us the win was a highlight to my season so far.”

The fullback also enjoyed the experience of the Women’s Nines tournament for the first time: “The Nines were a great experience, the whole squad played really well and worked well as a team and I thought we were unlucky to lose to Leeds in the Final.

“A big highlight of my season though was playing at Headingley in the Challenge Cup Semi Final against Leeds. It was probably one of the biggest games I have experienced with the the most spectators and my first time playing Rugby League live on TV.”

Speaking on her progression throughout the season, Salihi said: “Since the step up to Super League I’ve learned a lot both on and off the pitch. Off the pitch I’ve learnt about how Strength & Conditioning and Nutrition plays a big role in your performance and I think that has played a huge part in helping me settle in to super league.

“The step up has also made my skillset improve and made me work well under pressure and manage my nerves better. Physically it has forced me to push myself more to make sure I can compete with the teams. I have also learnt how important it is to communicate and support your teammate as well as letting mistakes go and focusing on the next task ahead.”

Wigan have three games left of the regular season, with every point still vital to secure a play-off place: “The next few games are important for us to make the play-offs and we need to take it game by game starting with York this weekend. I missed out on the last game against York but I got to watch the full game and could see how physical and organised the York side was so I think it will be another physical game.

Beri Salihi and Rachel Thompson celebrate after beating York Valkyrie in the Women’s Nines Semi Final at the AJ Bell Stadium.

“I’m really looking forward to playing since the only time I have played them is in the Nines and I’m looking forward to trying to get some points on the board for Wigan on Sunday.”

Speaking on the week off, she said: “The week off has allowed all the girls to refresh and rest up ahead of the last few games, however, I think we all wished we were at Wembley fighting for the Challenge Cup trophy. I watched the final and seeing the experience and excitement for both Leeds and Saints makes me even more determined to show how good Wigan can be. We all have a big focus now on the play-offs and we are hungry to try and get to the Grand Final.”

The full back gave her thoughts on this week’s opposition: “It’s the only team I’ve not played against so far this season in Super League but I did face them in the Nines and managed to find a bit of space against them and attacked well. So I’m looking forward to try and bring this into this weeks fixture and hopefully it will be a good game.”

See Wigan Warriors Women take on York Valkyrie this Sunday 20th August (12pm K.O.) at Robin Park Arena. Entry is free for Season Ticket Holders or non-Season Ticket Holders is £5 Adults and £3 Concessions. Our onsite bar will be open for refreshments on the day, please note the bar is card only.

Thursday 17 August 2023