WOMENS Match Report (Thanks to Meilani Salale)
In what can best be described as sloppy and wet conditions for both of our Womens teams over the weekend, the XVs have continued an impressive start to the season and smashed the Goulburn Dirty Reds Women on Saturday 29-3. The freezing temperatures and wet conditions forced handling errors during the match that meant that the forwards on both sides found themselves with their heads in a scrum for a fair amount of the match. This was much to our delight as the forward pack dominated every scrum and were reaping the rewards of doing the grunt work in the mud. An early handling error by the Dirty Reds allowed Belle Turner to snatch a try right from under their noses and this kicked off what would continue to be a high intensity match.
This intimidation and energy were not particular to the forward pack as the presence of a strong Owls team was felt across the line of jerseys with big hits and runs happening in our back line as well. This forward to back line connection became especially true when Crystal Papali’i made a dominant run off a 5m scrum which ended in a try in the corner for Sammie Wood. Woody also slotted 2 conversions for the day and a number of impressive exit kicks. Pesi Palu got on the score sheet as well with a powerful run that could have only ended in a try by her. Our talented 8 Crystal Papali’i and her reserve for the day Rosaline Aumale showcased their running ability and skill bringing in our final two tries of the game. Crystal had been dangerous off the back of the scrum every time it was there for her and it was only a matter of time before she crossed the line. Rosie came onto the field for Crystal and pushed her way over the chalk for a try within minutes of running onto the field and with her first touch of the ball in her return to play.
In what was a scrambled game given the sloppy conditions, every member of the squad put their body on the line and the intensity was high for the full 70 minutes of the match. Apart from an early penalty goal from the Dirty Reds we kept them away from the try line despite a lengthy effort from them late in the second half. The XVs team take on the ViQueens next week and there will be a lot of positives from this match just passed for the women to build on for what is sure to be another very physical game over at Viking Park.
Womens Rugby is something to be proud of in Owls land, with our 10s side turning in another extremely impressive performance against ADFA despite going down 10-0. The conditions were not kind to our women as the rain seemed to be at its heaviest during this part of the day but this
did not seem to bring our women down as they pushed out a very physical match against an ADFA team that is always solid and keen to test our strength and fitness on the field. The 10s team is filled with new and young women who are still bursting onto the rugby scene but you probably would not be able to tell just by watching them. This is apparent with young guns Georgia Combes and Danai Chanakira who both made impressive runs and hits on the ADFA women that they will definitely be nursing today. As always Isabella Dunne was making light work of the opposition in defence as they rarely made any line-breaks that were in Bella’s line of sight and her work with the ball made it seem like she could have been an outside back in a
previous life. Bella was also causing ADFA lots of problems at the breakdown and was well supported by Jess Grant and Stacey Delbridge and the rest of their forward pack which could only be described as powerful. 3 points for the day went to young gun Elka MacKinnon and were well deserved by the hot shot. Elka showed off what every backs player wants to be, running into all the right holes and carrying the ball past multiple defenders who were having difficulties every time Elka had the ball in hand.
Elka’s desire to take on the line every time is a quality shared across the 10s squad and it is this excitement that makes them a huge threat to holding a spot in the big dance toward the end of the year. This squad will travel to Bungendore next weekend where they will no doubt continue to dominate across the park.