The Waratahs women’s side took a giant step towards completing a second straight year undefeated but it was a brief step backwards at the weekend that pleased their coach most.
Or the reaction to it, anyway.
The NSW side re-asserted their favouritism for a second Super W title in as many seasons by beating major rivals Queensland at Leichhardt Oval.
The win was not only a big confidence boost for the Waratahs but went a long way to helping them defend their crown, with NSW now only needing to get past WA and the Rebels to finish minor premiers and host the final.
After naming his side to travel to Perth this weekend - with two injury-forced changes - NSW coach Matt Evrard said his team was looking forward to rolling their momentum on into back-to-back games, having had the round two bye.
"They still have a lot to work on and they know that as a group,” Evrard said.
"It has been a pretty hard, stop-start season so far. We still haven’t really felt like we have got going at all, with those weeks off and going into games, especially a huge game like the weekend, with no real flow going into it.
"I think they are really keen over the next two weeks to get some time together in those combinations and play against some good opposition going into those finals.”
After not losing a game in the inaugural Super W season, guarding against complacency was spoken about often by NSW in the pre-season.
Even after two wins over the Brumbies and Queensland and the supposedly “easier” half of the draw to come, Evrard might be justified in being wary of his troops not letting that home final slip with an off day against the solid WA team on Sunday.
The coach says there is no mistaking there are still tough games to come in the competition but he is also confident complacency is not an issue after watching his team respond to an early Queensland try at the weekend.
"I think we conceded a try in the first five minutes and as a coach you like to see those things sometimes, to see how your team reacts,” Evrard said.
"From being rocked back early, not having much ball and conceding an early try, to get back and score two tries and be in a bit of control at halftime, it was good to see our team have a bit of a positive reaction that way.
They are going to have to do a bit more of that this year. No doubt this weekend, it’s a big travel over to WA and it’s going to be hot over there and you’ll be in their backyard, there will be a lot riding their way. So we have to make sure we are right on our game to make sure we’re weathering that storm early.”
Lock Ana-lise Sio has been ruled out with injury, meaning Noella Green has been promoted into the starting team.
Fi Jones will miss the trip with concussion while Jemima Henry joins the bench for a potential debut.
The Waratahs play Rugby WA on Sunday 3.30pm (6.30pm AEDT), Curtin University, Perth. LIVE STREAM on RUGBY.com.au and Kayo.
IN: Jemima Henry, Paraeke O'Brien
OUT: Ana-Lise Sio, Fi Jones
Waratahs to face RugbyWA
1. Emily Robinson
2. Tasmin Sheppard
3. Evelyn Horomia
4. Noella Green
5. Sera Naiqama
6. Alexandra Sulusi (vc)
7. Emily Chancellor
8. Grace Hamilton (vc)
9. Iliseva Batibasaga
10. Chloe Leaupepe
11. Shanice Parker
12. Katrina Barker
13. Crystal Maguire
14. Maya Stewart
15. Ashleigh Hewson (c)
16. Melissa Fatu
17. Loretta Mailangi
18. Asoiva Karpani
19. Jemima Henry
20. Pareake O'Brien
21. Arabella McKenzie
22. Kennedy Cherrington
23. Kirrily Laws