Youngsters take control as Aussies win Central Coast

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

Australia's women's sevens have taken out the Central Coast Sevens, beating Canada 27-12.

While it was a squad littered with familiar names from their Olympic gold medal side, it was the performance of emerging duo Emma Sykes and Dominique du Toit that pleased coach Tim Walsh the most, as his side made its stamp on the preseason circuit.

That pair have been two of the next generation in the team and Walsh said both had begun to really step up.

"Emma Sykes played a lot of minutes the whole weekend but the way she played int hat last game was a very good performance, very complete performance, that was a real positive," he said.

"What allows Emma to be able to do that is the players around her as well.

"That’s really pleasing for a coach is to make sure there’s succession plans and the nature of the sport is you end up with a handful of injuries want to have players in there to take their place.

"That way there's never any excuses, you've always got people, always prepared and there's always succession coming through.

Emma Sykes was named the tournament MVP. Photo: CC7s FacebookDu Toit has been a part of the squad in recent seasons, and though she has been in and out of World Series legs, impressive efforts on the Central Coast and in the recent Bendigo series against New Zealand showed Walsh said she was growing with every tournament.

"She’s been sitting the shadows for a couple of years and every time she's played in the World Series she's getting better and better and she's really opening up her skills in different positions," he said.

"She was coming off the bench as an impact player today but making awesome tackles and really adding value."

Rio gold medallist Evania Pelite was another standout for Walsh, taking impressively to occasional kicking duties, including converting a sideline goal attempt during the tournament.

Canada had proven a tricky opposition for the Aussies during the World Series but the Aussies were ready for a star-studded lineup on Sunday.

Alicia Quirk struck first for the Aussies before Canada hit back two minutes later and took the lead with a conversion.

Two more tries to the Aussies gave them a 17-7 advantage at the break.

Another five-pointer just after the break, to Emma Tonegato, extended Australia’s lead as they began to take control.

Canada narrowed the margin to 10 points with three minutes to go, but Sykes sealed the game and the title for Australia after full-time.

That win came after Australia bested Fijiana in the quarter-final 34-0 and topped a New Zealand development side in the semi, 34-12.


Central Coast Sevens final

Australia 27 - Canada 12


Australia 34 - NZ Development 12


Australia 34 - Fijiana -0