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Magpies pack steamrolls Steelers for convincing win

The Wentworthville Magpies starved the Illawarra Steelers of possession to post a convincing 22-4 win tonight in their Round Three clash of the Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence.

“That was the plan – to use the pack that we had and try to keep building pressure,” said Magpies coach Kevin Chester after the four tries to one victory.

“Along with our forwards I thought our No.6 (Chloe Leaupepe) and No.7 (Kailey Thompson) were outstanding with their kicking games.

“But our middles laid the platform for them to do that. It was a really good team effort today.”

Backrower Rima Butler was the Harvey Norman Player of the Match.

NSWRL TV Highlights | Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership Round Three

Steelers coach Alicia-Kate Hawke wanted her team – in its debut season  in the Harvery Norman Premiership – to cement their place in the competition by handling the larger Wentworthville pack.

“We knew they’d be playing a big power game. One of the things we said pre-game was we can’t give them a lot of repeat sets – but unfortunately we did and we gave them a lot of that ball right on our try-line.

“One of the positive I’ll take out is that we did defend our line quite well.

“But we turned over the ball way too much combined with a few back-to-back penalties.”

Hawke did have a Sky Blues Origin quartet sitting on the sidelines in Keeley Davis, Kezie Apps, Emma Tonegato – who were also part of the Jillaroos World Cup win last November - and NSW halfback Rachael Pearson.

“We’re hoping to get one or two back for next weekend (Central Coast Roosters). One thing I’m really proud of is our whole squad but adding these girls in will add a little extra spark.”

The bulk of the first half was played in Steelers territory, which was reflected in the scoreline at the break with the Magpies up two tries to one (10-4).

The Steelers made some handling errors in attack but their defence was solid – holding up Magpies forwards three times over the line in the opening half and twice in the second.

But it was Wentworthville who made the statement early, when hooker Sonia Mose barged over from dummy-half in the third minute.

The Steelers replied through captain and centre Keele Browne finishing off a nice shift down the left edge.

However, the relentless pressure from the bigger Magpies pack led by props Elsie Abbott and Tyla Amiatu constantly making metres up the middle, led to winger Katalina Vave touching down in the right corner.

The Steelers had the worst possible start to the second half kicking out on the full.

Vave grabbed her second try off a raft of possession. Halfback Kailey Thompson missed the conversion but landed a penalty right in front to push the score out to 16-4.

Forward Shilea-T Schaaf pushing her way through tired defence seven minutes from fulltime sealed the result.

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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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