TWO of the QRL’s women’s league correspondents attended the recent Women’s State Championships to report on the action.
Here are their comprehensive reports:
Northern Marlins v Central Crows match report
by Melissa McMahon
THE Women's State Carnival was conducted on the Gold Coast last weekend, with the ultimate aim of selecting the strongest Queensland Women’s team yet.
With the best competition still being offered through the Brisbane and District Women’s Rugby League; the South East Queensland team laden with Jillaroo stars was always going to be the team to beat in this tournament.
Despite the lack of similar-standard competition throughout the rest of the state; the North Queensland Marlins and Central Queensland Crows did not let South East Queensland run away with the tournament.
The carnival’s most compelling game was between these two sides on the Saturday, which on paper looked to be North Queensland’s to lose, given their several current and former Jillaroos in their side.
However, it was a Crows team dominated by players from Beerwah who led 12-0 at half time, capitalising their club connections to race out to a handy half-time margin.
Yet the Marlins were able to overcome their lack of regular competition in the state's north with their experienced players leading with way in a gutsy second half.
The Marlins were able to clinch a victory ten minutes from time with continual attacks down the sidelines resulting in tries and a narrow 14-12 lead.
With much of the second half spent in defence, the Crows did not have the legs to bag the needed points but could hold their heads high.
While Central Queensland were unable to get the points against their rivals, three of their players were later rewarded with a call up to the Queensland squad named after the tournament.
Annette Brander, Jazmyn Taumafai and Kady Tinker all earned their first state caps through their impressive performances.
Central coach Stephen Savage singled out the players after their final match as worthy of rep selection.
"I thought they were outstanding this weekend and they all have bright futures ahead of them,” he said.
Other players, such as North Queensland winger Stephanie Mooka, made their mark on the tournament, but were unlucky to not make a strong Queensland side.
North Queensland coach Tyson Muscat was impressed with Mooka, saying the young winger has a bright future ahead.
“She's got great hand-eye coordination, great hands and a great build for a centre/winger,” he said.
Muscat also was happy to nominate bench player Leatitia Perkins as a future force.
"She'll get a start in her next game as proved herself today,” he said. “Although she's young, she's got a very big future ahead of her."
South East Queensland v Northern Marlins - match report
By Chantal Haua
The Sunday match saw SEQ take on the Marlins in a tough, no holds barred match.
The Marlins kicked off to an energetic SEQ side, both sides fielding some greats of the women’s game, with 2013 World Cup Jillaroos featuring on both sides.
Player of the Tournament Steph Hancock, Ali Brigginshaw, Tarah Westera and Karina Brown were in the SEQ side; while Renae Kunst, Heather Ballinger and Jenni-Sue Hoepper for the Marlins, proving just how strong the women’s game is across Queensland alone.
As the brutal defence and smooth attack started off for both sides, SEQ managed to break score first, as SEQ centre Aleasha Brider crossed the line six minutes in.
Five minutes later an almost exact replica of the first SEQ try saw Brider in once again steaming over the line, as the score went to 8-0.
SEQ dominated in possession percentage, as they constantly kept coming at the Marlin defence, an in-play kick from Brigginshaw, saw a great chase and pick up by winger, Kellye Hodges. She looked across the line, but a quick thinking Marlin defence forced Hodges to lose the ball.
The Marlins did what they could in attack, trying to take advantage of some attacking time, but they couldn’t quite get past the SEQ defence.
The forward packs of both sides definitely made for a great game, as the massive hit ups and forceful defence was cringe worthy. Marlin second rower Heather Ballinger was a stand-out, as her brilliant defence and crushing tackles kept the Marlins alive.
Eighteen minutes, in a quick thinking SEQ back line switched the play as the ball spread to Brider who was once again too strong; forcing her way over the line for her third try of the game.
Brider wasn’t stopping at 3. With three minutes until half time, SEQ took advantage of a tiring Marlin defence and sent Brider yet again crossing the line for her fourth try within 30 minutes. With Brigginshaw’s first successful conversion, the score was with SEQ 18-0.
As the final couple of minutes until halftime ticked down, SEQ weren’t finished yet. Halfback Talia Poutini busted the line, making a break down the field, and a quick offload to perfect positioned support player in fullback, Karina Brown, saw her soar over the try line to take a 24-0 lead into the break.
As SEQ kicked off for the second half, the Marlins looked to have a bit more confidence, as they found more time in attack, completing more sets.
The Marlin defence also seemed to have picked up, as SEQ found it harder to find the holes.
Play went back and forth, a kick from the Marlins saw the brilliant prop Hancock pick the ball up and bust the line for a great run down the paddock. A good defensive chase by the Marlins however kept Hancock away from the try line.
The Marlins pushed once again in their attack, almost making the line, but a relentless SEQ defence was not going to allow them a try.
Next, a beautiful line break by Poutini and a quick pass to SEQ winger Jessica Gracie saw her sail down the sideline, but it wasn’t to be as a great Marlin defence again stopped Gracie one metre short of the line.
SEQ kept coming at the Marlins, taking advantage of a few penalties in SEQ’s favour. Quick thinking SEQ hooker Brittany Breayley made good use of a quick play the ball, sending a long pass out to Brider who crashed over the line. She was denied her fifth however, with the pass called forward.
The Marlins managed to gain a couple of sets in their half, making great use of their massive forward pack, but were unable to find the line.
Another huge break for Hancock, straight through the defensive line, saw a beautiful inside offload to Brown, looking certain to score, but the Marlins weren’t far behind as a good defensive chase saved a try, but unfortunately also injuring Brown. Time off called as they tended to the fullback.
With only a minute to the siren, it was now or never for the Marlins.
Taking advantage of an SEQ knock on five metres out from their try line, a beautiful ball by Marlin hooker Madeline Obeuleter, saw quick hands passing out to the sideline and Marlin fullback Frances Whap positioned herself for a perfect catch. She ran down the side and over the try line, right on the full time whistle for the Marlin’s first and only try of the game.
It was a positive half for the Marlins, who kept SEQ scoreless – but did not stop them from claiming the championship trophy.