The Uni-Norths Owls claimed victory in the Women’s Grand Final with a resounding 40-19 win over Canberra Royals.
Rachel Crothers starred for the Owls, setting up tries for Anna Korovata and Dana-Louise Deklin as well as picking up a five-pointer of her own.
Korovata scored the first try of the match after fifteen minutes of action, collecting an offload near the left touch-line and, with a straight arm, she held off her winger and drove her way over the line to score. The sideline conversion from Sammie Wood was a beauty, giving Uni-Norths an early 7-0 lead.
The ensuing kick-off from Royals went out on the full, giving the Owls an opportunity to start their attack on the halfway. They moved the ball forward and almost 40m out from goal they were awarded a penalty and put their faith in Sammie Wood, but her kick drifted to the left of the uprights.
Minutes later Crothers put on a stepping masterclass, jinking her way through the defence untouched to extend the Uni-Norths lead. Crothers then got right in the thick of it again, running out wide and holding her pass until the perfect moment to put Dana-Louise Deklin through a hole. The powerful ball runner had a lot of work to do, but she kept her legs pumping and was too strong to bring down.
19-0 behind on the scoreboard with seconds remaining in the half, Royals earnt themselves a scrum penalty against the feed. They tapped the ball and worked it towards the line, eventually allowing Kiahan Bellchambers to dart over from behind the ruck and score under the posts.
A line-break up the sideline gave Claudia Obst an opportunity to show off her pace, scoring another try for the Owls. Another great conversion from Sammie Wood kept the scoreboard ticking over in favour of Uni-Norths.
Georgia O’Neill then burst through the defence on the halfway and looked like she would race away to score, but she was brought down meters away from the try line. The ball was then worked out wide and Crothers was involved again, coming close to scoring before Anna Korovata picked up her second try of the game.
With twenty minutes remaining, Royals put together multiple phases inside the attacking 22 and eventually Grace Kemp used her strength to go over. Kemp has been one of the shining lights for Royals this game and deservedly gets her name on the score sheet.
Georgia O’Neill then made her third line-break of the second half, coming agonisingly close to scoring before being brought down. Sammie Wood then deservedly finished off the hard work of her flanker, extending the score to a seemingly unassailable 40-14 lead.
Refusing to give up, Royals centre Michelle Perry ran full steam at the line and couldn’t be caught. With only minutes remaining though the points were just a consolation, but still added respectability to the scoreboard.
Uni-Norths Owls (19) 40 (T: Anna Korovata (2), Rachel Crothers, Claudia Obst, Dana-Louise Deklin, Samantha Wood C: Samantha Wood (5)) Canberra Royals (7) 19 (T: Kiahan Bellchambers, Grace Kemp, Michelle Perry C: Ashlea Bishop (2))
Words: Pat Woods