North Newcastle may have fallen short against a clinical Redfern All Blacks side in the grand final, but Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Player of the Year Caitlin Moran still has plenty to crow about after her stellar 2017 campaign.
Moran capped off a brilliant individual season after she was crowned the best player in the world at the Brad Fittler Medal Awards night two weeks ago but was unable to steer her side to victory after going down to Redfern 26-16 on Sunday afternoon.
Although in with a fighting chance before kick-off, North Newcastle were unable to maintain their strong start after conceding four first-half tries which Moran puts down to inexperience against a well-drilled side.
“I think we started a bit out of the blocks and we were in the game in the first ten minutes, but I think nerves [crept in] - we have a new few girls and it’s our first year together,” she told NSWRL.com.au
“Redfern are a very developed team now, they have been together for a while so all credit to Redfern and how they played and the coaching staff.
“What we can take away with that is a bit of experience and bit more structure to be more calm.”
After being part of the victorious NSW side that trounced Queensland Womens 22-6 earlier this year, Moran was brimming with confidence and primed for a strong finish to the season with North Newcastle.
Despite losing their opening two fixtures and conceding nearly 100 points in the process, Moran sparked her side with a purple patch of form that saw them just lose two more games for the rest of the season.
She finished third on competition point-scoring tally while also showing her class in a host of representative teams, but says her combination with fellow Jillaroo stars Isabelle Kelly and Rebecca Young played a significant role in their journey to the Grand Final.
“I’ve had a massive season with football personally; it started with Auckland Nines and the Indigenous All Stars win and the Test Match win and then with NSW for the second time down in Queensland,” she said.
“Having Izzy [Isabelle Kelly] and Bec [Rebecca Young] in each of those tournaments with me, I think it builds the Newcastle team.
“Me personally I have the World Cup year, so I’m just trying to play the best footy I can and try not to get broken out there.”
Moran’s long list of 2017 representative honours started in February where she was part a star-studded Jillaroos outfit who won their first Auckland Nines Series with a clean sweep of victories, before leading the Indigenous All Stars to their first ever win just one week later.
She went onto to help NSW claim their second series win in a row halfway through 2017 but now has her sights set on the Rugby League World Cup and is looking forward to the challenge ahead.
“It’s going to be massive over the next few weeks - footy season is definitely not over,” she said.
“I’ve got to try and enjoy the week I have off, then straight back into training and into lock down.
“It actually steps up a notch now with all the club stuff over and now all the days I’m usually at club training it’s back to personal training.
“But like I said I got the likes of Bec Young and Isabelle living around me so we’re carrying each other and pushing each other towards the World Cup.”