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NSW City win a tight one to earn Grand Final spot

A one-on-one strip by Botille Vette-Welsh ended with a match-winning try in the left corner for Jess Sergis, with four minutes left on the clock, as NSW City won a close one 22-18 over South-East Queensland (SEQ) at the Harvey Norman Women's National Championships on Saturday.

The five tries to three victory ensured NSW City a spot in Sunday's grand final at Pizzey Park in Burleigh Heads.

The lead changed three times in the match ended up 18-18 with six minutes left after a SEQ try to Maroons forward Rona Peters.

Then up stepped 22-year-old Vette-Welsh (Wests Tigers), who wrestled the ball cleanly and took off to the northern end of the field. The next play and the ball swung out the left edge to find Sergis (Helensburgh) on the burst.

"I actually thought we were pretty composed when things levelled up," Sergis told

"We have a call 'fire' and that just lifts everyone and gets us to knuckle down. That might have scared the opposition a little bit.

"But when I saw Bo get the ball I just thought 'Go, go go!'. Then I thought 'It's my turn, I've got to get in there'.

"So Bo pretty much won the game for us with that one-on-one, but it was a team effort to get us there. I'm so proud of all the girls."

So is coach Steve Kelly, who had been asking the NSW City players for a full-game effort.

"We got the 60 minutes out of them but I've got to say South-East Queensland really came to play footy. There was some real quality football by them," he said.

"But we wrestled the control back at the end there, stuck together and get the job done."

And the steal from Vette-Welsh brought Kelly out of his seat.

"What a kid! That is just sheer football knowledge and to be honest I think it got us home," Kelly said of the Wests Tigers fullback's star play.

"She should be really proud of herself, because she did for the team and it's team first with us."

A hat-trick to Cronulla winger Tiana Penitani can't be overlooked.

She opened NSW City's score sheet with a 60-metre sprint down the eastern touchline, evading tacklers, to score near the uprights in the 14th minute. Her second in the 41st minute gave City the lead back (14-12) and her third in the 49th extended the lead (18-12).

"She's a quality athlete, a quality player, and more importantly a quality human. She can definitely find the try line," Kelly said of the 23-year-old Sharks flyer.

North Sydney's Shanice Parker was NSW City's other try scorer crossing just after half-time (36th minute).

Twenty-one-year-old Parker was also on debut in the blue-and-gold jersey alongside Sergis.

But no time to rest on their laurels.

"It's rest, recovery, some video and we're back out there tomorrow and see how we go," Kelly said.

NSW City lost the 2018 National Championships grand final 16-12 to NSW Country, so are seeking a little revenge.

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.

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