Highlanders geared up for women’s grand final against Gunnedah Red Devils

Focused on executing a perfect game plan, Inverell Highlanders’ women will face Gunnedah Red Devils in the Central North Rugby Union grand final this weekend.

After an absolutely stellar season making history as the first-ever Central North women’s 7s grand finalists, the local ladies are primed to give it their all in Tamworth on Saturday.

As the only Highlanders side to make the grand final, the girls are determined to secure a premiership for the club.

Instead of playing two games, there will be only one on Saturday with the halves extended to 10 minutes each.

Coach Dale Beattie said staying focused for the whole 20 minutes will be key to winning the game.

“We’re focused on what we do well and what our strengths are, and hopefully we can exploit Gunnedah’s weaknesses,” he said.

The girls downed a fierce Tamworth Pirates 20-17 on their home turf two weekends ago to earn the grand final spot.

Rhiannon Byers was a standout player, scoring three tries, along with the sharp work of Crisp twins Mykayla and Hannah.

Looking back on the game, Beattie said the girls were good with the ball and controlled the game well in the first half.

“We got out to a pretty healthy lead but perhaps in the second half we thought we had the game in the bag and Tamworth came back at us hard.

“In the end we were lucky to hold on there and get the win so we really need to stay focused against Gunnedah,” he said.

With a full bench and a fit side, Beattie was quietly confident they could bag the win. All season Beattie has been happy with the girls’ fitness and willingness to train and learn.

The Highlanders women’s side has also seen a few players make representative honours at different levels, including the UNE Lions side playing in the AON series.

“They don’t complain too much when we do fitness, they’ve worked really hard and improved every time they’ve played.

“It’s been a pleasure to work with such a great group of ladies,” he said.

Beattie thanked the Highlanders club for their support, personally with the team and with women’s rugby in general.

There will be a supporters bus heading to Tamworth this weekend from Rugby Park. Locals are invited to head on over dressed in their Highlanders gear to cheer on the girls.

Head to the Inverell Highlanders Facebook page for more details.

Meanwhile, the Highlanders will hold their annual presentation evening on September 21 at the Tatts Hotel.

Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm start and tickets are $20 at the door.