The Western Women’s Rugby League (WWRL) Grand Final will have a real Group 10 feeling about it tomorrow (Saturday 25 November), when the Panorama Platypi hosts the Vipers at Bathurst’s Jack Arrowing Sporting Complex.
The Bathurst-based Platypi have been the best team in 2023 and will be shooting for a historic three-peat of WWRL titles following back-to-back Grand Final wins over Woodbridge in 2021 and the Wiradjuri Goannas in 2022.
Both teams enter the match following decisive semi-final victories over the weekend.
It was expected to be a closer score line when the Vipers hosted the Wiradjuri Goannas at Orange’s Pride Park on Saturday, but the Vipers proved a class above winning 42-22.
Georgie Barrett scored in the opening minutes and from there the home side led throughout an entertaining match, where 13 tries were scored.
Rebecca Smyth crossed for a treble in the losing side, while Barrett scored a double for the Vipers.
In Sunday's second semi-final at Jack Arrowing Sporting Complex, the Platypi lived up to their billing as the team to beat being too strong for the in-form Mudgee Dragons, winning 34-18.
Tiana Anderson set the tone early scoring two tries in six minutes, with Panorama leading throughout to register a seven-tries-to-three victory.
There’s a lot on the line tomorrow with both sides bringing good form into the highly-anticipated fixture.
Panorama lost just one game during the regular season, coincidently, to the Vipers back in Round Two (32-26).
The Vipers' only loss was in Round One, where they went down to the Goannas 24-22.
The Orange-based outfit did settle for a 34-all draw with Mudgee in Round Seven, which effectively ended their hopes of winning the Minor Premiership. But they will be close enough to home tomorrow, when making the short trip to Bathurst.
Players to watch
Panorama boasts a strong line-up, with try-scoring talent across the park.
Headlining their star power is St George Illawarra Dragons NWRL player and local product Cheynoah Amone.
A versatile back-rower and outside back, Amone adds experience and class to a strong outfit.
Western Rams superstar and veteran finisher Meredith Jones is still as sharp as ever and will be a crucial to their attack.
Add to that proven try scorers and game-breakers such as fullback Tiana Anderson, dummy half Xantehe Booth, playmaker Sarah Coleman, and centre Darcie Morrison, and the Vipers will have a big job to keep these players in check.
It’s not just Panorama’s finishers that make them a lethal outfit. The Platypi are led by hard-working forwards Molly Kennedy and Chelsea Amone, who will offer their side plenty of go-forward while adding starch to the defence.
The Vipers won’t be too worried about who they are coming up against with the Orange outfit set to field some game-breakers of their own.
Young gun Georgie Barrett leads the charge. The talented playmaker, who will also play for the Vipers in the under-18s Grand Final, has been picked up by the Sydney Roosters to play in their 2024 Tarsha Gale Cup side.
The youngster conducts herself well beyond her years and is starting halfback for the Vipers.
Custodian Kiara Sullivan has been a try-scoring machine, crossing eight times in 2023. She stood out in their win over the Goannas last Saturday, and many are tipping the talented fullback to play a significant role in the decider.
Ella Barrett will steer the ship at dummy half, and leading their forward back will be tenacious back-rower Jorja Lees.
In fact, the Vipers will call upon a strong pack in the middle with the likes of Lilly Baker and Kara Yelland.
Celebration of Women’s Rugby League at Bathurst
It won’t just be the Panorama Platypi and Vipers showcasing the best of Western Women’s Rugby League (WWRL) in their Women’s Open Grand Final at Bathurst’s Jack Arrowing Sporting Complex.
Five deciders are set to be played.
In a terrific season for the WWRL, each club fielded the required five teams in the Under 12s, 14s, 16s, 18s, and Open competitions.
In a sensational result for Lachlan District, who are playing their first season in the competition, their Under 18s side qualified for the Grand Final and will take on the Vipers.
The Goannas play the Vipers in the Under 16s, the Platypi take on the Goannas in the Under 14s, and in the Under 12s, the Vipers and Platypi battle.