One of the longest running successful streaks in sport was ended today when the NSW Women claimed an 8-4 win over Queensland at Cbus Super Stadium.
Played in front of an appreciative crowd – it was a tough game where defence again dominated with the match only seeing one try scored by each team.
However, a successful conversion and a late penalty goal were enough for the Blues women to prevail and halt Queensland’s dominant run of 17 years with the Nellie Doherty Cup.
While there were no points scored in the first half – that did not mean there were no chances – with the defence of both sides forcing some rushed play and errors with the ball. Goal-line defence was also strong from both sides, with players putting their bodies on the line for their team.
There were a number of breaks made in the game; with player of the match NSW backrower Kezie Apps making a key break downfield before Tegan Rolfe came across in cover to slow her run to the line, giving time for Annette Brander to complete the tackle.
Queensland were twice denied in the match when over the line, with rookie Amelia Kuk reaching out to try and score, only for the ball to land on the leg of a NSW defender and rake Brittany Breayley also denied one near the posts after diving over from dummy half following a due to interference with the marker at the play-the-ball.
The 0-0 deadlock was finally broken 13 minutes into the second half when NSW were able to make the most of their possession and Simaima Taufa-Kautai crashed over for their try.
Queensland fielded six debutants in the match who all did their team proud, with Selena Tranter starting the match in place of skipper Steph Hancock who was injected from the bench.
Backrower Tazmin Gray looked like she more than deserved to be in the rep area while Queensland rookie, but rep veteran Rona Peters was also a powerhouse.
Fellow forwards Renae Kunst and Heather Ballinger were their usual dependable selves, tackling everything they could and proving hard to bring down.
Ali Brigginshaw – who was returning to the rep arena after suffering a horrific leg injury last year – scored the try of the game, going over in the final 15 seconds of the game to display Queensland’s attitude right to the end.
Although a low-scoring game, it was a good display of how competitive women’s rugby league can be, and the crowd who came to cheer on the players were rewarded with a great match.
NSW Women 8 (Simaima Taufa-Kautai try; Maddie Studdon 2 goals) def Queensland Women 4 (Ali Brigginshaw try) at Cbus Super Stadium
Player of the Match: Kezie Apps (NSW)
Queensland Players Player: Brittany Breayley
Coach's Award: Annette Brander