The Super W season kicked-off with a bang, with the NSW Waratahs outclassing the Queensland Reds 47-26 in Brisbane in front of a healthy crowd.
New South Wales rugby supporters, this is the team to get behind. The juggernaut that is the NSW Waratahs headed into this opening clash as competition favourites, and the match took on a State of Origin quality to it, with some bruising defence and fiery clashes.
The Queensland Reds, fielding several debutants, struggled against the power and pace of the NSW Waratahs, who showed the continuity and quality that has seen them win the last three iterations of Super W.
NSW were slick in the opening stanza, working through the phases and putting Piper Duck in for an early try.
The Waratahs held off a Queensland raid into their 22, before Wallaroos flyhalf Arabella Mckenzie delivered a perfect cut-out pass to Mahalia Murphy, who put speedster Maya Stweart in for a breakaway try.
From there the Waratahs were able to run in another two tries in the first 20 minutes before a yellow card to Maya Stewart for a high shot on Ivania Wong halted their momentum. It gave the Reds an opportunity to strike in Waratahs territory and eventually got on the board through a hard-fought try to Christina Sekona.
Stewart made an immediate impact after returning from the sin bin, putting on some moves to put Margot Vella in on the inside for her first Super W try, before backing it up by using her electric pace to complete a first half hat-trick.
Stewart got her fourth try in the second half to cement herself as the best winger in the country right now.
Arabella Mckenzie was all class in leading the NSW team around, controlling possession and picking the right times to play her hand.
The Waratahs created pressure by spreading the Queensland side and putting players into space.
They didn't allow the Reds to get momentum going, and the Queenslanders couldn’t break the NSW defence for long stretches of the game.
Reds got their second try of the game through hard grinding forward play, when truck driver Bree-Anna Cheatham muscled over.
The Waratahs emptied their bench and allowed the Reds finished strong, scoring a couple of spectacular team tries to cap off a courageous fightback after holding out NSW for most of the second half.
In the end though, the NSW Waratahs were too strong, and the game was beyond doubt even before Mahalia Murphy finished off the game near full-time following an incredible fend-off that allowed her to stride over for a try.
The Waratahs star players rose to the occasion when it counted, with Emily “Horse” Robinson influential after returning from a long-term injury, Grace Hamilton leading from the front and Sera Naiqama adding starch to the forward pack.