Happy days but work to do for NSW Women

Super W
by Jill Scanlon

There is no doubt the NSW camp was a happy one after opening their Buildcorp Super W campaign with a strong 18-0 win over Queensland rivals at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday.

Coach Rob Baumann was pleased with the composure of his side throughout the game given the expected pre-game nerves.

“Everyone was getting a bit nervous as they do, even I was getting a bit nervous," he said.

"But it was a great effort from the girls for the first hit-out."

He was especially impressed with the character the team showed in never letting Queensland across the line.

“They remained composed. There was a long period in the first half where Queensland were down our end and our defensive effort was immense," he added.

Baumann felt the whole team did their jobs well but noted some big performances from Katrina Barker, Grace Hamilton, Ariana Kaiwai and Crystal Maguire.

For Queensland coach Michael Hayes it was a disappointing outcome, but the performance was not indicative of the team overall.

“It’s very hard to win a game where you don’t get a lot of the ball,” he said.

“I know we can play so much better than that.

“The game was not being played at a pace that we have been training at and it may be that we’ve come in a little underdone.”

NSW captain Ash Hewson, who led by example, said the composure and maturity of her team helped get them home.

“I think our set piece was the reason we were able to set such a great platform and win the game. Our composure and patience was the reason we came away with the win,” she said.

Hewson believes the history of the occasion also fed into the overall performance.

“I think everyone in the team was aware of how special this is for Women’s Rugby and how special it is for all of us.

“Being an older player that’s been waiting for this for a very long time, it’s an absolute privilege to be a part of it and to see the composure in those young girls and the passion they played with – it makes it very easy to lead a team of women that have that passion and show it on the field.

“At the end of the day it was an unbelievable team effort.”

While this win was special, Hewson knows that there are more challenges ahead.

“Everyone knew this was going to be a tough game and I think it’s great they chose this for the opening match but definitely there’s no team we’ll be taking lightly," she added.

“We’ve got respect for every single female rugby player in this country so we know it’s going to be difficult, but we’ll stick to our guns and hopefully play as well as we did tonight.”

The Western Force Women's match against the Melbourne Rebels Women will be streamed live on RUGBY.com.au from 6pm (AEDT) on Sunday.