WOMEN’S XVS WRITE UP ROUND 7
It was a tough day on the park on Saturday as our XVs side was up against our fiercest rivals, the Blue Baggers, but this did not stop us from continuing our successful winning streak and getting up 17-11 over Royals.
It was a beautiful day for rugby at the Barn and exciting for our Women to run out under the Spring sun at a time when we would have usually hung up our boots for the year by now. The pristine playing conditions did not however equal a pristine start as our side was slow off the opening whistle and found ourselves in a relentless arm wrestle with our opposing side for the majority of the first half. Possession sat with the Blue Baggers for a larger chunk of this time but our defensive efforts were something to be proud of as we kept them away from the line.
The Blue Baggers tested us at every opportunity with big hits up the middle that ran into our strong forwards like Emma Ganley and Bridgette Cunningham, and they also found no relief when trying to spread the ball wide as they were met with powerful tackles from our outside backs like Talei Wilson and Sammie Wood. There is no doubt that our work off the defensive line was unceasingly intense but too much excitement and ill-discipline at the breakdown allowed the Blue Baggers to line up two penalty goals and get on the score board before us. Tania Afamasaga was the captain on the park for the day and after a few much needed words from her we made sure not to drop our heads and a lift in energy lead to Claudia Obst putting on the footwork she is known for and crossing the chalk in the later minutes of the first half.
Going into the second half everybody was feeling the immense physicality of the game already but were nonetheless fired up and ready to finish the match strong. As always, the backs received a spray of wise words from Bindi (James Erwin) that had them busting to get back on the field and score some points and boy did they deliver. Within minutes of the second half whistle the backs followed through on some slick line movements and ball running that ended with Dana Deklin crossing the line. After a slow first half this was the perfect way to open up the other end of the match and you could feel the energy across the Owls jerseys on the park ready to run this down to the final whistle.
This energy was bursting through in some damaging runs from Rosie Aumale and Iris Verebalavu that make me glad to be on the supporting side of their bruising hits. Rosie and Iris were instrumental in getting the ball moving up the park and witnessing their runs I can confirm that rumour that they both watch Jonah Lomu highlights every night before game day. This pre-game studying paid off as 3 points for the day went to Iris and 2 points to no.8 Rosie.
Our last try for the day came from young gun Emerina Marsh-Kiro who has made her mark in the no.10 jersey this year. The five-eighth who is more affectionately known as Bubba powered over the line with some backup from Tania Afamasaga showing that Bubba comes from a long line of dominant runners who have previously donned the Owls jersey. Marsh-Kiro was quick with the ball and helped lead the women around the park all day and this effort earnt her the 1 pointer of the match.
In what was undoubtedly our hardest match of the season so far we needed high energy from whistle to whistle and our support players off the bench were of major significance in this intensity. Players like Sophie Williams and Izzy Atkinson Smith were more than a handful for the opposition and proved to be important injections into the game. Congratulations are also in order to Emily Hall who made her mark in her XVs debut with significant tackles and never-ending defensive efforts.
Overall it was a bruising hit out for our women to be proud of and we will be looking to continue this impressive run as we travel to Goulburn this weekend to take on the Dirty Reds.