on a milestone game number that is almost unheard of! A true legend of the game that goes far beyond the 400 matches under your belt. Big ups to 2s and 3s on closing out the 2020 season with impressive wins and can’t wait to see the Owls show on fire for 4s, 1s and both Women’s sides in finals time! Apologies in advance for the lengthy write up but with 10 tries to write home about, it’s hard to condense the pride in the Owls.
Being the last regular home game of the season and after a bye week, our XVs women were eager to get back onto the field and close out the regular season with a win. There was also an extra spring in our step being able to run out 20 minutes after our cracking 10s side had locked their spot in the big dance, flying higher than their Eagles opposition in a fiery battle of the birds semi-final.
Despite a high energy warm up and the thrill of running through a large tunnel of support onto the main field, the ViQueens still managed to catch us on the back foot off the opening whistle and landed the early points in the first 5 minutes. This lit a fire under the girls and the points were answered by 2 of our powerful forwards Crystal Papalii and Tania Afamasaga, both making space out of nothing in a couple of pick and go tries within just a few minutes of each other. Now that we had taken the momentum of the game into our hands, and with the word from the coach’s box in our ears, it was time to rustle up the grass and show off how hard we had been working at training.
The attacking efforts across the line were relentless and determined, especially so in some slick ball movement through our backs.
Claudia Obst crossed the chalk after stunning the ViQueens defensive line with some sharp footwork, and only 5 minutes later Emerina Marsh-Kiro put her own points on the board after an imposing rolling maul from the forward pack opened space for the flyhalf to step through and close the first half in true Marsh fashion.
We knew the ViQueens would come out in the second half wanting to turn the tables but we showed why we are the fittest team in the competition as we lifted the energy even higher and turned out a persistent attacking set in the early minutes. This became fruitful through Izzy Atkinson-Smith who pulled off a dexterous offload which opened up Bubba’s second try of the day in the corner. From this point on the Owls wasted no time in putting to practice the attacking efforts we had been nailing at training, like when
Belle Turner caught the defence off guard, sniping between their legs and over the chalk for her own pick and go try.
After supporters might have been wondering all day why the no.2 jersey was floating around on the wing and not hitting up the midfield, Tania Afamasaga put on an exciting footrace for her second try of the day as she punished the defensive line for mistakenly rushing up on her and showed off some speed that is not usually associated with the number on her back. After Bridgette Cunningham had been having difficulty with harshly placed conversions all day, she handed the tee over to Afamasaga to convert her own try but we won’t talk about that.
With 15 mins left in the game it was obvious the ViQueens were tired but the Owls were not ready to let their foot off the gas. A quick ball and cutout pass to Obst saw her break the line and step not one, not two, not three, but seven defenders before getting pulled up just short of the white line, allowing Bridgette Cunningham the attacking position to power over the line and go chest to grass in unstoppable fashion.
The ViQueens struggled with possession for most of the game and whether it was desperation or tiredness that made them throw the pill into the hands of Belle Turner for a beautiful intercept try, we’ll never know and we’re not complaining. Crystal had been dangerous with the ball in hand all day and it was no surprise when she made a scoot off the ruck that ended with her diving (or falling) over the line 50m away. She may have looked around for support after 20m but everybody in the green and blue knew that she didn’t need it.
The Women are excited to have earnt their minor premiership spot after a seriously impressive regular season but we know the job is not yet done and no doubt there will be a big push from the Owls in finals time that cannot be missed! Hoot hoot
1 – joint pointer went to Crystal and Bubba needing no explanation after their blistering attack on the pitch.
2 – another joint nomination to Tania Afamasaga and Belle Turner who’s actions and reactions speak for themselves.
3 – Claudia Obst picked up the 3 points after slotting into the centres and showing that she can be a menace on the field with whatever number she has on her back.