NSW women’s captain Ash Hewson experienced a moment she’s been preparing for her whole life on Friday night, slotting the championship-winning penalty in a thrilling Buildcorp Super W final.
Hewson slotted a 92nd-minute penalty to clinch the historic title for the NSW side, who went through the season undefeated, over a gritty Queensland side that fought its hearts out.
The 38-year-old said she went into a cone of silence as she went back to take the shot, when Queensland gave away the opportunity, and it worked.
“I actually block everything out, it's always silent to me when I take my kicks, especially under that kind of pressure,” she said.
“As soon as the whistle blew, I walked away from everyone and just took a deep breath and knew it was going to come down to that.
“I think since the age of five or six I've been practising that moment in my backyard and in football fields down the South Coast, so it finally paid off.”
Hewson’s kick completed a monumental Super W final, and gave NSW an historic rugby moment and what Hewson hoped was a perfect advertisement for women’s rugby.
“We knew this is history, we wanted to win the inaugural season, this whole competition has been absolutely unbelievable and going from strength to strength week to week.
“That game, I'm so glad it was like that, because it was a real testament to what this competition's about and the heart and the passion that women play rugby with.
“That was on display 100% tonight.”
Queensland’s women were heartbroken after the thriller but captain Kirby Sefo still found many reasons to be proud of her side after the 16-13 finish.
“It is disappointing not to come away with the win, but I think the quality of that game was something for us to be really proud of,” she said.
“Also, to have been a part of such an iconic match. It will go down in history and I think that's something really special for our girls, who perhaps don't know the level of what they've done just yet, but in years to come it'll be something that we're really proud of.”
The match provided another exciting chapter to an emerging Queensland-NSW rugby rivalry, having gone to extra-time in the Brisbane Tens final in February, with the core of the squads very similar.
Sefo said she couldn't help but think back to that clash earlier this season.
"That did run through my mind after the first full-time whistle had blown, like 'here we go again'. but we were ready for it and I think it's a display of good rugby," she said.
"It's nothing to be too disappointed about."
Hewson expects interstate matches to continue to grow in intensity after Friday night.
"That'll definitely escalate it even further," she said.