It’s unchartered territory for the Redfern All Blacks, but winger Taleena Simon is not getting ahead of herself leading into the 2017 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership Finals Series.
The Dany Allende-coached side has been a standout throughout the 14 regular rounds, averaging 38 points a game to finish as minor premiers. In a five-team finals format, that earns the team a week off before playing directly for a Grand Final spot in Finals Week 2 – a position not to be taken lightly.
“It’s pretty exciting that we won the minor premiership, but our job’s not over,” Simon tells NSWRL.com.au. “We go into the semis next weekend, so we have this week just to focus on that and just improve certain areas.
“We’ve never made it this far before, but we’ve just got take each and every game and play the normal way we normally play.”
The reincarnation of the former Sydney Metropolitan Women’s Rugby League this year saw the standard of play step up a level, with just four points separating the top four sides. The biggest indication yet of Redfern’s dominance, however, came in the final round of competition; the All Blacks hosted then-second-placed Mounties in Round 14, destroying them 72-18.
Simon amassed four tries in that big win, but insists the performance won’t cause complacency among the playing group.
“Mounties didn’t really have their strong squad at that time; a lot of their players were injured,” Simon says. “At the end of the day, it’s just the best team on that day.
“Whoever wins it, wins it but we’re going to go out there and give it everything.”
The Harvey Norman NSW Women’s City winger has been a welcome addition to the All Blacks in recent weeks, following a nine-week stint on the sidelines. She joins NSW representatives Nakia Davis-Welsh, Maddie Studdon, Rebecca Riley and Jasmin Allende in the Redfern side – and has been pleased with the way in which the talent has come together this season.
“The girls have gelled pretty well,” Simon adds. “I’ve enjoyed playing with them and I hope that they’re also around next year.”
The All Blacks will next play on Sunday, 10 September, where they will face either Mounties or the Glenmore Park Brumbies for a place in the decider. That match will be live streamed on both NSWRL.com.au and the NSWRL Facebook page from 3pm AEST.