A gripping Super W final should spark progress for the competition on and off the field, Queensland coach Michael Hayes says.
Queensland and NSW’s women played out an epic final on Friday night, with NSW skipper Ash Hewson slotting a winning penalty in the second period of extra-time, saving the teams from sharing the inaugural spoils.
The final was played as the first half of a double header on Friday night, with the Waratahs-Lions match played after, and Hayes said hopefully it could become a standalone match in the future.
“The brand of rugby they're playing is as attractive as I've seen,’ he said.
“I’ve coached a lot of men's teams, this is my first sojourn into women's coaching and I think the brand of rugby they're playing is just as good from a female athletic perspective.
“They're working just as hard and they drive in the rucks and they pick and go and their hands are silky and their knowledge of the game is getting better and better and better and that's what also makes them good athletes as well.
“They're smart, intelligent athletic women.”
Though players’ costs have been compensated for in the inaugural Super W season, all of the athletes are still amateur, and Hayes hoped the epic season conclusion would help boost financial support down the track.
“It's on the record that I think the sooner these girls get rewarded for the amount of effort and time and sacrifices they make the better it will be,” he said.
“And if we keep playing rugby like that, it's a marketers' dream, I feel, for someone to jump on board and take this moving forward because of the fact we've got a captive audience in not only the (traditional) rugby fraternity but a female audience as well.”
NSW captain and Wallaroos veteran Ash Hewson voiced her support for an expanded Super W competition this week, that included New Zealand, and Hayes echoed those views.
“I would like to see us take the big step - take it, grab it and go and play some good rugby in New Zealand and new Zealand teams come and play some good rugby over here,” he said.
“What we've seen tonight is outstanding rugby, I think on a world stage it's as good as anything I've seen and I've seen world cups and what we just played out there tonight,what both teams displayed was as good, if not better, than some of the world cup games I've seen.”