The Panorama Platypi are in the box seat to register a Western Women’s Rugby League (WWRL) three-peat after claiming the Open’s 2023 Minor Premiership.
Kevin Grimshaw’s women, who are coming off back-to-back WWRL titles, have been a model of consistency. Apart from a Round Two loss to the Orange Vipers, the Platypi have been the team to beat winning five of six games.
In a frantic final round, where positions in the top four were still on the table, the Bathurst-based side had a bye.
However, they weren’t assured of the top spot with the second-placed Vipers still an outside chance of leapfrogging them when they took on the Mudgee Dragons at Glen Willow Regional Sports Complex last Saturday.
The Dragons, on the other hand, entered the match in fifth position meaning they had it all to play for and were fighting for survival, needing either a win or a draw and for the results of other matches to go their way.
Played in sweltering conditions, where the temperature soared to 32 degrees, it was a high-scoring contest that ended in an entertaining 34-all draw.
The sides traded tries with Mudgee leading 34-28 into the final minutes after Caitlin Shoulders scored her second try of the day, which Alahna Ryan converted.
Vipers centre Annabel Harrison then scored the game-levelling four-pointer three minutes from time, and Rebecca Prestwidge added the conversion to lock the scores up 34-34.
Playing simultaneously was the all-important game between the fourth-placed Woodbridge Cup outfit and third-placed Wiradjuri Goannas at Grenfell’s Lawson Oval.
Lily Mason scored four for the Goannas in a player-of-the-match performance as her side got up to win 24-22.
Emilie Brown played well for Woodbridge, with the custodian crossing twice, but they couldn’t find the winner against the enigmatic Goannas.
Woodbridge will consider themselves a little unlucky with the loss putting an end to their campaign after they slid back to fifth position and outside of the top four.
On the other hand, the Goannas remain in third position and now enter the WWRL finals with a win under their belts.
In the third and final WWRL Round Seven game last Saturday, the Castlereagh Cougars defeated Lachlan District in the battle to avoid the wooden spoon.
It was another hot affair at Red Bend College Oval as the Cougars ran in four tries to one.
Still, the match signalled the end of the road for the Cougars and Lachlan District, who finished sixth and seventh respectively.
The WWRL Semi-finals kick off on Saturday with the grand final a week later.
All second versus third games will be played at Orange’s Pride Park, where the Vipers host the Wiradjuri Goannas in the Open’s Women competition.
In all first versus fourth Semi-finals, Bathurst’s Jack Arrow Sporting Complex is the host ground on Sunday.
The Panorama Platypi will welcome the Mudgee Dragons in the Open's Women fixture.
Click here for WWRL results.