Walcha's Jillaroos the dominators

MIDWAY through their second season of the Wayne Cadman & Associates-sponsored Group 4 Second Division Ladies League Tag, the Walcha Jillaroos are undefeated.

The Jillaroos won all their first-round matches plus second-round clashes with Dungowan Cowgirls, Boggabri and Werris Creek to lead the  Ladies League Tag.

In their 10 games, the Jillaroos have scored 269 points at almost 27 points per game while conceding only 54 points at less than a converted try per match.

Prolific pointscorer Rhiannon Moran has contributed 79 points by way of 31 goals, four tries and a field goal. 

It includes two sideline conversions in gusty conditions against Dungowan and Boggabri in two of the three most recent matches.

During the game against Dungowan, Moran kicked a line drop-out to inside the Cowgirls’ 20m. 

Although there was wind assistance, most men would be happy to boot the ball 70m.

Coach and former Uralla league tag player Robyn Broadbent has crossed for six tries, including a hat-trick against Werris Creek while Kayla Partridge, Bec Hoy and Lacey Latham have all registered five tries each.

Of the regular squad of 18 players, only Bonnie Smith and Apii Fontanella are in danger of the dreaded “nudie run” reserved for players who fail to score a try throughout the season.

The competition-leading Walcha Jillaroos (back from left) Bonnie Smith, Amanda Scott, Rhiannon Moran, Lacey Latham, Michelle Wayte, Kayla Partridge, Bec Hoy, Laura Beard, Rachel Green (front from left) Dinah Moussos, Robyn Broadbent (capt/coach), Jess Brazel, Sonia Usher, Appi Fontanella, Allison Kelly, Jordy Hoy. Photo: Bonnie Smith

The competition-leading Walcha Jillaroos (back from left) Bonnie Smith, Amanda Scott, Rhiannon Moran, Lacey Latham, Michelle Wayte, Kayla Partridge, Bec Hoy, Laura Beard, Rachel Green (front from left) Dinah Moussos, Robyn Broadbent (capt/coach), Jess Brazel, Sonia Usher, Appi Fontanella, Allison Kelly, Jordy Hoy. Photo: Bonnie Smith

The Jillaroos have schoolteacher Ben Ussher as assistant coach, Wendy Stove is team manager, Walcha Road sheriff Chris Cooney is the trainer and Kevin Creighton lends his assistance when called on.

Overall, the coaching staff have been pleased with the team effort up until now but there has been some concern when the squad has shifted back a gear on occasions after establishing good leads.

In 2013, the Jillaroos played their first season of ladies league tag after forming a team when the Walcha Roos returned from the rugby league wilderness to play in the Group 4 Second Division.

The Roos had folded in 1999.

Last year the Jillaroos qualified for the semi-finals only to be bundled out in the preliminary final, 38-6, by Barraba at Quirindi Sportsground.

Not a bad effort in their debut season but they lost six players from that squad as well as coach Greg Buckland and playmaker Samantha Lord, who had given the game away to concentrate on having a baby.

At the beginning of this season only half the 2013 squad remained but, after a recruiting drive, the team has excelled and is on track for the semi-finals.

Jillaroo Bonnie Smith said it’s been “fun”.

“We’re having a great season that’s been a lot of fun,” she said.

“It’s all about having a bit of fun and a bit of fitness.”

Nine of their players had not played League Tag before.

One player, Amanda Scott, who did remain from last season is the only Jillaroo to have played all 20 games since they kicked off in 2013.

She is closely followed by Smith and Kayla Partridge (19), Laura Beard and Moran (18).

The Jillaroos are fully aware there is a lot more to it than just turning up and expecting to win.

They need only ask the players who lined up in last August’s preliminary final.

The Jillaroos are at home to Barraba this Saturday, their game kicking off at 11.30am, followed by the Group 4 Second Division clash between the Roos and defending premiers Barraba Bulldogs.

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