Queensland women's coach Michael Hayes never lost faith in his team as they pulled off a miracle comeback in Perth.
In what was a closely fought game in front of a sizeable and vocal Perth crowd, the victory for Queensland came in the final minute of the game, underlining the rising standard of play through this inaugural series.
Hayes was a relieved man after the game but thrilled with the resilience of his players.
”I never really doubted that we could come back at any stage,” he said.
“We just need to believe in what we can do.
“For the first 10 minutes we stuck to our game plan and maybe for the last 15, and in between we gave away a lot of silly penalties. That has cost us dearly with territory in previous games.
“We were just lucky this time that we were able to go back to a game-plan and believe in that and keep the ball in hand then the results would come and the tries would come – and they did.”
While the up-front stars of the show were the two try-scorers, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea and Samantha Treherne, Hayes was full of praise for the performance of his captain.
“Kirby Sefo, our captain, was outstanding in defence today. Her defensive game was magnificent,” he said.
“Every tackle I saw her do was around the boot laces and bang, down on the ground.”
Hayes also voiced his admiration for the opposition pointing out the physicality and determination of the Force was nearly Queensland’s undoing.
“Taking nothing away from WA, they were physical and they came out to dominate and to assert their authority on their home turf and they did it really well.”
Queensland ran in six tries from just two players and Samantha Treherne was one of those who scored the triple treat.
“I think the girls knew they had a lot more to give it was just a shame we waited until the last 10 minutes to give it,” she said.
“We knew we were giving up penalties and our half-time talk was about pulling our heads in, leave the rucks alone and just needing to play our own game.”
For Force coach Seb Delport, the disappointment was palpable but the lessons are strong.
“Disappointed and frustrated would be the main emotions now,” he said.
“Disappointed we couldn’t close it out and frustrated at the lack of accuracy as the game progressed because we were in the poll position with 15 minutes to go and it was just our errors and poor decision making that cost us.
“We had the momentum, we had the 20-point gap and we let them back into the game due to trying to protect the lead rather than trying to build it.”
“Massive learning experience for the girls so we have to take that on the chin – that was ours for the taking and we let them off the hook and we have to learn those lessons going into next week.”
Queensland now has the bye and the break before the big Final while the Force will take on the Brumbies in Canberra next Saturday.