The ACT Brumbies got their Super W campaign underway with a 30-5 win over a tenacious Melbourne Rebels.
It was all the Brumbies in the first half, but the Rebels rallied to stop the Brumbies momentum and drew them into an arm-wrestle to close out the game. It was a game where both sides showed plenty of endeavour in attack, but left plenty of missed opportunities out on the park.
It was a tight affair in Canberra to start, with the two sides going at each other hard in the early stages of the match.
The deadlock was finally broken at the 25 minute mark through a penalty goal to Brumbies flyhalf Ella Ryan, and they followed up with a terrific score to Zali Waihape-Andrews off the back of a scrum.
The Brumbies marched on in the second half after a mistake from the Rebels gifted the Brumbies a chance to score through Siokapesi Palu, who darted down the sideline off the ruck.
They continued to pile on the points after Palu snatched an intercept to put Talei Qalo Wilson in for their third try of the day.
The Rebels fought hard to get back in the match, building phases and possession. The Rebels sped up the game through quick taps and repeat phases as the Brumbies gave away penalties in their own end of the field. The Rebels finally got on the board with a crash-over effort from Janita Kareta.
The Brumbies countered by going hard on the ball, with flankers Pearl Rakete and Rebecca Smyth forcing turnovers at crucial times late in the second half.
Ella Ryan was mercurial in leading the Brumbies around the park before being forced off in the second half.
The Brumbies closed out the match with an incredibly athletic effort from winger Halley Derera, who was able to clean up a cross-field kick from Lilly Mason-Spice to dot down in the corner right on full-time.
The Rebels had their chances, but their relative inexperience and lack of chemistry hindered their attack. Ashley Marsters kept the Rebels rolling with some barnstorming runs and Melbourne rugby talisman Mel Kawa didn’t quit all game, even after a nasty gash forced her off the field temporarily for a blood bin.
It was the Brumbies who were able to take their chances when they came, and mounted a strong case in their quest to reach the final in this season of Super W.