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NSW Country Claim Inaugural Womens National Championship

A last-minute try to the NSW Country side has seen the NSW City outfit finish runners-up in the inaugural Harvey Norman National Women's Championships Grand Final.

In one of the more physical clashes of the three-day tournament, friendships were put on hold as players did their all to claim the weekend's honours, as well as to impress Womens State of Origin selectors.

After a back-and-forth first-half, the sides returned to the sheds locked at eight – City co-captain Maddie Studdon breaking the deadlock in the opening minutes of the second-half with a vital try.

But NSW Country rallied to level the scores, before Ngalika Barker ensured the Country outfit took the weekend's honours, as she crashed her way over in the corner with a minute remaining in the game.

NSW City Co-Captain Maddie Studdon said despite the disappointment of coming up short, she knew her side left it all out on the field.

"We gave it our all and I'm proud of all of our girls," Studdon tells

"It was a true clash – two New South Wales sides coming up against each other, it was always going to be hard.

"We play some of those girls each week and we knew it was going to be hard and we gave it our all. But unfortunately, NSW Country was the best side at the end of the day.

"We got bit mucked around in the first-half not completing our sets and they put a lot of pressure on us.

"The second half they did the same thing and we just made the mistakes which is where their tries came off."

NSW City Head Coach Steve Kelly says, although the result didn't go the side's way, he knew his girls had pushed themselves to the limit.

"I definitely can't fault the effort of our girls, they put in everything they could for 55 minutes of the game, but they [NSW Country] just got us at the end," Kelly says.

"I'm looking forward to watching the game back, they were two teams who absolutely ripped into each other for 60 minutes of football.

"I think this Tournament has really showcased the talent that is there and unearthed some new talent as well."

Having two New South Wales sides in the final showed the depth of talent amongst the state's women's players, which Kelly admitted is hard not to be proud of today.

"There was a little pride at being a blue today, with both New South Wales sides in the final. It's a good day for women's rugby league in the state New South Wales," Kelly says.

Both sides now turn their attention to the historic Womens State of Origin, which will be held at North Sydney Oval on Friday 22 June.

"We both (NSW Country and NSW City) beat the Queensland sides this weekend, so that is a positive," Studdon says.

"But Origin is one of the hardest games you'll ever play and Queensland will really bring it given it's on our home soil."

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.