HUNTER Valley Group 21 Rugby League celebrated a women’s Greater Northern Tigers Divisional Championship on the back of some outstanding defence.
That was the assessment of Merriwa coach Matt Morgan after his side had beaten Group 4 16-0 and came from behind to upset Group 19 6-4 at Scully Park, West Tamworth, on Saturday.
The team started well with a whitewash against Group 4 where Greta Branxton back-rower Brooke Davis scored twice and Murrurundi halfback Lucy Prudden also crossed.
Prudden grabbed the match-winning try late in the second half of the game against Group 19, too.
Trailing 4-0 at the break, Group 21 produced some great defence and then struck five minutes from full-time with Prudden also converting her own try.
The two wins handed Group 21 the first-ever women’s open tackle championship – and the Jane Walmsley Shield.
It made Morgan even more satisfied and delighted.
The trophy is named after former Greater Northern Tigers chairperson Jane Walmsley, who is still on the organisation’s committee and the CRL delegate for the Tigers.
“She is also my sister,” Morgan grinned.
“So, it is even better to win the Jane Walmsley Shield,” he said after the victory over Group 19 and regardless of what happened in the final outing between Groups 4 and 19.
“It’s all down to the girls,” he continued.
“Their defence was outstanding.
“That’s what we’ve worked on and they worked hard for each other; such a good group of girls.
“They’ve come together from six clubs – Merriwa, Murrurundi, Scone, Aberdeen, Muswellbrook and Greta Branxton; unbelievable the way they have gelled as a team.
“It would also be great to see seven or eight make the Tigers side.”
Morgan, who played as a halfback and hooker for Merriwa and Scone in his playing days, coached under-12 girls’ league tag last year and had a few nieces in Saturday’s Group 21 side.
Merriwa’s Gaynor Blackadder, who played prop, and her daughter Shai, one of the centres, are also from the Magpies and continued the Group 21 family theme by also combining in the championship winning squad.
Group 21 then had seven players selected in the Greater Northern Tigers team to play North Coast at Coffs Harbour on March 9.
Jessyca Morgan, Taylah Blackadder, Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), Grace Gallen (Scone), Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook) and Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi) all earned deserving selection in the team.
Jane Walmsley Shield Ladies Open Tackle League Championship
GROUP 21 16 (Brooke Davis 2, Lucy Prudden tries; Prudden, Samantha Elphick goals) d GROUP 4 0
GROUP 21 6 (Lucy Prudden try; goal) d GROUP 19 4 (Vicki Youman try)
GROUP 19 22 (Taneika Landsborough, Skye Gordan-Briggs, Robyn Broadbent, Vicki Youman tries; Amy Barraclough 3 goals) d GROUP 4 0
Greater Northern Tigers
Jessyca Morgan, Taylah Blackadder, Gaynor Blackadder (Merriwa), Brooke Davis (Greta Branxton), Shae Pemberton (Muswellbrook), Lucy Prudden (Murrurundi), Grace Gallen (Scone), Lauren Clarke (Boggabri), Joan O’Leary (South West Robins), Toni Skuthorpe (South West Robins), Zoe darlington (Barraba), Amelia Tunmena, Alisa Tunmena, Sarah Byrne (Glen Innes), Robyn Broadbent, Amy Barraclough, Alyce Walsh, Brooke O’Halloran, Katelyn Smith (Uralla), Taneika Landsborough (Guyra). Coach – Mick Schmiedel