PREVIEW | Women's Finals Week 1
The first two finals in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership take place at New Era Stadium this Saturday, with the Redfern All Blacks being rewarded for their minor premiership by being granted a bye this week.
In a slightly confusing finals system, the winner out of the Glenmore Park Brumbies (2nd) and Mounties (3rd) will progress to the second week of finals against Redfern. From there, the winner of that will qualify for the Grand Final. The other game is North Newcastle (4th) versus the Greenacre Tigers (5th), and the winner of that game will play the loser of Glenmore Park and Mounties next week. The loser of that team is eliminated altogether.
Glenmore Park Brumbies v Mounties
Saturday 2 September, 11am
New Era Stadium
Both sides finished on 20 competition points, however Mounties played two fewer games than Glenmore Park. The teams have met on two occasions in 2017, where Mounties got the better of Glenmore Park on both occasions.
The first match was a convincing victory with the Mulga storming home 54-22 winners, while the next game was slightly closer, 30-16. However, Glenmore Park has finished the season with some momentum, winning four of their final six matches in addition to a Cronulla-Caringbah forfeit in Round 8, whereas a depleted Mounties side went down 72-18 in the final match of the season against Redfern.
Glenmore Park will look to key players Lavoli Lealaiauloto and Sarah Togatuki to step up in this important encounter, with both women making the Harvey Women NSW Women’s Premiership team of the year. Lealaiauloto has been steering the ship this season for the second placed side, while Togatuki has been a powerhouse in the forward pack.
For Mounties, Teina Clark made the same team of the year, and has played a variety of positions throughout the 2017 season. She is named at left centre this weekend, but her versatility could allow her to pop up anywhere on the field. She will certainly be one of the danger players for Glenmore Park to look out for in this important match. Simaima Taufa is undoubtedly Mounties most important player; she brings brute force and equal experience to the side.
North Newcastle v Greenacre Tigers
Saturday 2 September, 12.50pm
New Era Stadium
While the Caitlin Moran-led North Newcastle Side finished in fourth position, they certainly have the personnel to go all the way in the 2017 campaign. It is certainly a danger game for Greenacre, who are currently on a three game losing streak.
Greenacre managed to pile on the points against North Newcastle in the opening round of the season, smashing them 50-12 at Belmore Sports ground. The tables turned in Round 8, when a Holli Wheeler hat-trick inspired North Newcastle to convincingly down Greenacre 32-8.
Moran is the danger player for North Newcastle that Greenacre will always need to keep an eye on. She steered the NSW women’s interstate side to glory this year from the halves, and frequently stars for the Jillaroos. It is no surprise how dangerous she has been in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership this year, and will no doubt be North Newcastle’s go-to player come finals time.
For Greenacre, Grace Clarke and Aniva Tuigamala were rewarded for fantastic years with inclusions in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership team of the year. Clarke frequently steps up at centre and is a major threat, while Tuigamala will be a force to be reckoned with in the middle of the field.