Super W: Waratahs dispatch Rebels, book in another home Grand Final

Super W
by Iain Payten in Japan

NSW will host a second consecutive Super W Grand Final after dispatching the Melbourne Rebels 66-12 and finishing the regular season as unbeaten minor premiers.

The Waratahs women’s team were too strong for the Rebels in Bathurst, with Shanice Parker running in four of NSW’s 10 tries for the day.

The Rebels, who’ve battled throughout the competition, were far from disgraced and on the back of a season-best defensive effort, even scored two tries in the first half. 

But NSW still led 40-12 at the break and while rain was more than welcome in the drought-affected country town in NSW’s Central-West, it also dampened the scoring down in the second half.

The Waratahs ended up posting four more tries in the second 40 minutes - two through reserve hooker Melissa Fatu - securing top spot on the Super W ladder and nailing down the Grand Final hosting duties for the defending champions.

The game is pencilled in to be played at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday, April 7, pending final approvals.

"It is really great after last year to be hosting the final again,” said NSW skipper Ash Hewson.

"Playing at Leichhardt Oval a couple of weeks ago against Queensland it was a really great atmosphere and a standalone game as well. So to get that crowd was amazing and hopefully we can double it it and get some support for the final."


Though they won’t know who they play in the decider until next weekend, Hewson said the team had plenty to do in their weekend off, and the weeks surrounding it.

"We have a lot to work on, with a few loose carries and things like that but we executed where we wanted to,” she said.

Rebels skipper Meretiana Robinson said her team was very proud of their effort, after conceding over 100 points against Queensland in round one.

"We knew it was going to be a tough battle and we had one thing which was to make the last game count, and leave the legacy we were proud of on the field,” Robinson said.

"And we were pretty proud of what we did and the work ethic, that will leave us in good stead for next season."

The Rebels were looking to finish their season strongly but the Waratahs were always in control, and they’d scored three tries before the crowd had even secured their sausage sandwich at Anne Ashwood Oval.

Maya Stewart scored inside the first 90 seconds from a kick and when Evelyn Horomia and Arabella McKenzie crossed within 10 minutes, the contest appeared to be over.

The Rebels scored their first try when Ash Hewson fumbled a pass and it landed in the arms of Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi, who raced 50 metres to score.

The Rebels were back to 19-7 but NSW snuffed out hopes when Hewson scored, and then Parker scored two tries before the half-hour mark.

The Rebels hung in, though, and when they maintained good possession in NSW’s half, the Victorians scored a second try right on halftime through centre Tangata Tupou.

The second half saw a big storm hit Bathurst and handling errors piled up, making the second half a stop-start affair.

The power running of Fatu proved hard for the Rebels to stop close to the line, and Parker was elusive out wide when finishing some rare moments of attacking freedom.

The win came at a cost for the Waratahs, however, with big lock Anna-Lise Sio coming from the field with what appeared to be a knee injury.

TEAMS

Waratahs to face Rebels

1. Emily Robinson

2. Tamsin Sheppard

3. Evelyn Horomia

4. Ana-lise Sio

5. Sera Naiqama

6. Alex Sulusi

7. Emily Chancellor

8. Grace Hamilton

9. Katrina Barker

10. Chloe Leaupepe

11. Shanice Parker

12. Arabella McKenzie

13. Crystal Maguire

14. Maya Stewart

15. Ash Hewson

Reserves

16. Melissa Fatu

17. Matalena Wilson

18. Tisera Volkman

19. Pareake O'Brien

20. Fi Jones

21. Phoebe Loughhead

22. Mahalia Murphy

23. Kennedy Cherrington

Rebels to face Waratahs

1. Janita Kareta

2. Ashley Marsters

3. Bree-Anna Cheatham

4. Georgia Bradbery

5. May Sa'aga

6. Casey Homewood

7. Alice Tonumaivao

8. Carmen Landkauf

9. Jessie Treherne

10. Meretiana Robinson

11. Tyra Boysen-Auimatagi

12. Tangata Tupou

13. Georgia Page

14. Courtney Frankl

15. Mikaela Welti

Reserves

16. Sharlene Fagalilo

17. Faith Masina

18. Titilia Yabaki

19. Yvonne Callaghan

20. Utumalefata To'omalatai Atonio Eli

21. Wynonah Conway

22. Liana Pritchard- Matamua

23. Rachael Martin