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Monaro compile magnificent seven tries to down Knights

A hat-trick to winger Tijana Zdravevska set up a dominant 34-0 victory for the Monaro Colts over the Newcastle-Maitland Region Knights to claim their first NSWRL Country Women’s Championship.

It was a one-sided Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval, with the Colts scoring seven tries – five in the first half - to set up the win.

“The girls have played well the whole preparation – in fact they’ve been working since Christmas for this, so it’s good to see it pay off,” said Colts coach Nathan Smith.

Fullback Krystal Blackwell was named Player of the Match after damaging runs and off-loads made her a constant thorn in the Knights’ side. She scored a double in the opening 30 minutes.

“She’s a star, she’s a dead-set star,” Smith said.

“But they all aimed up for each other because they love working for each other. We’ve got some skill in the backline but I wanted them all to play what’s in front of them and we saw the results of that today.”

The Knights struggled to get out of their own territory early, which became the theme of the match. They found themselves doing far more tackling than they planned.

“We shot oursevles in the foot early, pushing things like passes and moves when we didn’t need to,” said Knights coach Daniel Evans.

“We stayed in the fight but we gave them way too much ball. We didn’t get out of our half until late in the first half – you can’t play footy like that let alone with a match.

“But it’s a good lesson for the girls because we’ve only got one player from last year’s (Central Coast) squad, who won the grand final. So development-wise they will have learned so much from today.”

Zdravevska scored three tries in five matches in the Southern Division titles in Queanbeyan earlier this month.  She then came out and scored three today, by showing solid speed with her angled runs to the corner.

The win was set up by an overwhelming Colts’ first-half performance resulting in a 24-0 half-time lead.

The Knights stemmed the flow of points in the second half but the damage had already been done.

The first Monaro try was to Lily Crocker in the right corner, set up superbly by centre Madyson Tooth who drew the defence to put her winger in the clear.

Blackwell scored her first seven minutes later (pictured above), off a break by second rower Milika Tuinakauvadr, before Tooth scored in the 25th minute.

A long-range 65m move was finished off by left-side winger Zdravevska, before Blackwell ran 40m to score in the final minute before the half-time hooter.

The Colts didn’t let up in the second with Zdravevska scoring her next two tries to rubber-stamp a polished Monaro performance.

Scores: Monaro Colts 34 (Tijana Zdravevska 3, Krystal Blackwell 2, Madyson Tooth, Lily Crocker tries; Mikayla Morris 3 goals) def Newcastle-Maitland Region Knights 0

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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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