Fitness and up tempo game got us home: Hayes

Super W
by Jill Scanlon

Queensland Women's coach Michael Hayes attributed his team's change in fortune this week to playing a faster paced game in their 42-5 win over Brumbies Women at GIO Stadium.

“We tried to play a game that’s a little more up-tempo and try to avoid going to ground, because that just slows the ball down,” said Hayes.

“The girls have worked really hard on their rugby-specific fitness (this week) and so we feel that if we can play the game with ball in hand more, then we’ll penetrate that defensive line a little bit better. 

“The girls have got the confidence to do that because we train to do it.”

Hayes enjoyed the work of flanker Ivy Kaleta and Lavinia Gould on Saturday and was pleased with the performance of Samantha Treherne who had a quiet game against NSW last weekend.

Reds captain Kirby Sefo said combinations and confidence was the difference from one week to the next.

“Today, we tweaked those combos to work out how to play to our strengths. In the second half we got more confident and then started to have a bit more fun which I think is important,” Sefo said.

There is no doubt the Reds went up a gear in the second half but Sefo believes fitness also played a part in the warm conditions against the usually tough opponent.

“Previously, the Brumbies have been a really hard team for us. But I think we were getting around the field a little bit easier," Sefo added.

“We were prepared for a really hard game, but we were trying to concentrate on our own game and I think that’s what gave us our confidence and that what we were doing was starting to work for us.”

Brumbies coach Tony Doherty admitted there were aspects of their game they would go away and work on, but overall he was pleased with the team’s first experience in the new competition, despite the 37-point loss.

“We went in with the expectation to experience it and enjoy the opportunity and I think we got that out of the game,” Doherty said.

“The girls dug in for the entire game and we didn’t focus on the scoreboard. We were more worried about the way we played.” 

While Doherty was pleased with the set pieces and the contest at the breakdown, he knows they will have to apply better pressure when they face NSW next weekend.

“We kicked the ball away and then couldn’t apply the pressure giving them the opportunity to come back at us and create space," he said.

“So what we’ll work on is just our ability to get that defensive line up to limit opportunities.”

While the Brumbies face another tough contest against NSW in Round Three, Queensland will head home to Brisbane where it will take on the underdogs from down south, the Rebels.