NSW City Win Through to National Championships Grand Final
NSW City has secured a spot in Sunday's (3 June) National Women's Championships Grand Final on the back of a commanding 26-0 win over Queensland Country, on day two of the tournament.
The win ensures an all-New South Wales decider, with NSW Country also winning through to the National Women's Championships Grand Final.
In what was a physical display against the Queensland Country side, the NSW City Womens side maintained their unbeaten run at the weekend, having trumped the Combined Associate States side 24-4 on Friday.
New South Wales' most-capped women's player and Co-captain, Elianna Walton, couldn't be happier with the precision her side showed in the win over Qld Country.
"We had good structure from the start and the girls' intensity and speed was what we wanted to work on," Walton tells NSWRL.com.au.
"The strategy the girls had with Maddie (Studdon) and Lavina (O'Mealey) in the halves combination, was perfect.
"The pace of the game was pretty tough. Being 30-minute halves it's really fast for the front line. What we need to focus on is getting that ball out to the backs, out to the edges and laying the platform for them."
NSW City Coach Steve Kelly, echoed Walton's comments, pleased with his side's ability to control the game from the outset.
"Today we had a complete effort. I was really impressed with the girls, they stuck to the game plan, got to the space we wanted to and played out our sets exactly like we wanted to," Kelly says.
"Our forwards laid the platform and our halves took control, it was what we planned for and what we executed."
Centre Shontelle Stowers opened the scoring for the City side, as she broke through the Qld Country's defence to race to the corner to score.
Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale Cup Premiership winner Quincy Dodd traded in her familiar No.7 jersey to play on the wing for City, but the 18-year-old talent was not deterred, crossing for the side's second four-pointer of the half.
NSW City took a 12-0 lead into the sheds at half-time.
Grace Uluiburto grabbed the side's third try following the change of ends, and Maddie Studdon took her tally with the boot to three from as many attempts to extend the lead to 18.
Dodd grabbed her second try of the match, before completing her hat-trick in fine style, and Corban McGregor's late effort rounded out the convincing 26-0 victory.
The win will now see NSW City play NSW Country play in the grand final, with players vying for positions in the NSW Womens State of Origin side to take on the Queensland Women at North Sydney Oval on Friday 22 June.
Coach Kelly is under no illusions as to the enormity of the challenge that his side faces on Sunday.
"It's going to be one extremely physical encounter. Our girls are ready for it," he says.
"In the back of our minds this is what we wanted from day one, two New South Wales sides in the grand final, but I know our girls really want this one.
"I think it's going to be interesting tomorrow; they know each other's game quite well so we might have to throw a few things different at them tomorrow," said Kelly.
NSW CITY 26 (Q Dodd 3 S Stowers G Uluiburto tries M Studdon 2 goals) bt. QUEENSLAND COUNTRY 0
Tune in to the action from Day Three of the Harvey Norman National Women's Championships, with NSW City to take on NSW Country in the grand final, from 1.15pm (AEST).
NSW City Game Two Team: Corban McGregor, Quincy Dodd, Shontelle Stowers, Kate Mullaly, Lavina O'Mealey, Maddie Studdon, Chloe Caldwell, Rebecca Riley, Elianna Walton, Teina Clark, Eliza Wilson, Sharnita Woodman, Nita Maynard, Montana Fonua, Grace Uluiburotu, Christine Pauli, Karol-Ann Tanevesi. Coach: Steve Kelly.