The final round of the BHP Premiership has arrived with a heavyweight showdown to kick off the weekend’s action.
It will be a rumble on the Gold Coast between the competition’s two undefeated teams, with Valleys Diehard and Burleigh Bears facing off on Saturday at Robina’s Cbus Super Stadium.
Match: Bears v Diehards
Round 7 -
Venue: Cbus Super Stadium, Gold Coast
Both teams will be ducking and weaving looking for the knockout.
The Bears have the advantage in attack, having scored 232 points compared to the Diehards with 182, while in defence, the blue wall of Valleys has let in 36 points in six games while the Bears have let in 64.
Valleys come into this minor premiership decider off the back of a decisive win against the Tigers where they had 65 per cent of the ball which allowed them to overpower the young Tigers with 61 tackle breaks and 10 line breaks.
It took two minutes before Lavinia Gould set the tone and smashed the ball down over the line to start the scoring to put the Tigers under the pump.
With strong performers across the board, it is hard to narrow down standouts for in the Diehards in the win.
Lauretta Leao-Seve impressed after making 214 metres from 20 hit ups, as well as making six tackle breaks and a casual 17 tackles too.
Skipper Ali Brigginshaw was unstoppable; she had seven tackle breaks, two line breaks, one line break assist and two try assists in a normal Brigginshaw game.
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Valleys second row Kody House also played well and has been a juggernaut this season for the Diehards, scoring four tries in five games.
With four line breaks and 25 tackle breaks, House has been one of her team’s best with only four missed tackles this season.
The former Queensland representative was looking forward to the game and seeing the forwards for off and was especially looking forward to the battle against Bears Millie Boyle and Tazmin Gray.
“We are looking forward to the challenge against the Bears and especially their forwards, the top of the table clash will be a big tough game,” House said.
“We have nothing to lose, we are a new team who are enjoying our footy and playing under good coaching staff.
“We are excited to play at Cbus Super Stadium in front of a decent crowd for our last regular season game before the finals.
“We are hoping to leave with a win to build some confidence heading into the last two weeks.”
Burleigh Bears v Valleys Diehards
Valleys coach Scott Prince was excited for what his players could experience against the Bears.
“What a great experience to get to play on that surface at Cbus, the girls will love it,” Prince said.
“Come Saturday afternoon, this will be a great game to watch and a top-of-the-table clash before the finals.
“The Bears are a great team and I think should be favourites.
“A great story is our centre Helen McRae is playing her third game of league, at Cbus against the Bears; how good is that.”
The Bears have been equally strong this season, but come into this game following a close 22-20 win over North Queensland Gold Stars at Pizzey Park last weekend.
It was a tense one, but those close games are keeping the Bears, who led 10-4 at halftime, match hard and ready.
The Bears made the Stars do more tackling and would have no doubt liked to have taken advantage of the extra work the Stars were doing, but 12 penalties kept the Stars in the game and that will be something the Bears won’t be able to do this week against Valleys.
Chelsea Lenarduzzi was a key performer in the win and in an unbelievable effort, registered 226 metres from the interchange bench.
Bears coach Tahnee Norris said she was keen to get to the stadium on Saturday for the match.
“Absolutely looking forward to this match up, they have so many quality players and we’re keen to see where we are in relation to this team,” Norris said.
“It shows the quality of football that being played at the BHP Premiership level.
“Ali Brigginshaw and Grace Griffin have been setting the team up nicely.
“Natassja Purontakanen has been strong in the forwards for them.
“We just need to focus on what we do best, play no-mistake footy and take it to them through the middle and see what can open up out wide.”
Elsewhere in the final round, the games will be evenly matched with the 1v2 game being played alongside 3v4, 5v6 and 7v8.
Match: Stars v Panthers
Round 7 -
Venue: BB Print Stadium, Mackay
The Stars came back from 10-4 down at halftime and gave the Bears a real shake to lose by two. They will be looking to take that last three quarters of a game and apply it across the whole game this week when they take on the Panthers.
The Stars that shone brightly were Emma Manzelmann who made 38 tackles, missing only one. The hooker wasn’t done there, with her attack proving vital to the Stars and she made 115 metres from 10 runs.
The Panthers had a massive day out against the Valkyries, with Lana Sheedy six from eight conversions.
It was 16-0 at halftime, but from there the Panthers kicked it up a notch, with nine-line breaks helping their cause.
Julia Robinson made 239 metres for the Panthers and scored two tries, with the powerful fullback making two line breaks, one line break assist and one try assist.
The Panthers forwards too were unstoppable.
Match: Seagulls v Tigers
Round 7 -
Venue: Piggabeen Sports Complex, Tweed Heads
Tweed Seagulls went to McIndoe Park and came home with the two points following a last-gasp two-point win over Central Queensland Capras.
What the Tweed did really well was cash in when chances came their way, as evidenced by their match-winning try.
It was an even game, but the Seagulls defended well missing only 19 tackles. Georgia Hale is an icon of defence and has topped the Seagulls tackle count every week - six weeks in a row so far.
Hale has 235 tackles from six games at 96 per cent efficiency - she is a superstar.
The Tigers will be looking to overcome a tough day against the Diehards. Valleys just didn’t give the Tigers anything to work with and they only had 35 per cent of the ball. Coupled with 61 missed tackles, the game is going to be tough.
Kelsey Ladbrooke-Parkin tried her best and topped the tackle count for the game with 33 tackles, while Shae Yvonne De La Cruz crashed her body into the blue wall over and over again for 93 metres.
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Match: Capras v Valkyries
Round 7 -
Venue: Browne Park, Rockhampton
The Capras had chances to beat the Seagulls, but weren’t able to take them when they presented themselves and that will be what they want to fix this week against the Valkyries.
The Capras had an even share of the ball, they just allowed the Seagulls too much momentum through ineffective tackles. The Seagulls had 35 tackle breaks and could just keep slowly building.
The best for the Capras was Kailah Rogers who made 134 metres and Bree Spreadborough made two-line breaks.
The Valkyries are searching for the complete performance that they need to record their first win of the season.
The Panthers were too strong across the park, but what the Valkyries did well was come back and start holding out the Panthers.
Wests were off to a flyer scoring twice in the first six minutes, but then they didn’t score again until the 32nd minute.
Georgina Tuitaalili made 22 tackles and one line break trying to get some momentum back and Tyesha Mikaio made 138 metres.