Western women’s coach Jess Skinner hopes Friday night’s representative clash with the Riverina is just the start of things to come for her Rams outfit.
The division’s open girls came close to knocking off the hosts at Wagga’s Equex Centre in the lead-up to the NSW Country under 23s and Samoa clash.
Leading 18-8 inside the final 10 minutes after tries to Sophie Stammers, Meredith Jones and player of the match Grace Mooney, Western’s wheels fell off late as Riverina dominated possession to run out 28-18 victors.
Riverina’s Takilele Katoa was the hero for her side, scoring a hat-trick in the women’s nines rugby league fixture.
And Skinner is hopeful the clash isn’t just a one-off.
“Especially with the Jillaroos smashing it at the moment and a World Cup just around the corner,” Skinner, based at Trangie, said.
“The Western area has a lot of untouched, raw talent. Hopeful we can have a few more games.
“It’s been a long season, but the girls have the talent, and they’re keen.”
Western was hit early with injuries to three key players - Rikka Lamb, Tarlee Roberts and Litisha Boney all failed to return to the field after suffering injuries.
It forced a reshuffle to Skinner’s line-up, with skipper Ella-J Harris moving from hooker to the halves and Mooney shifting into acting half.
The Blayney product starred, too, leading the Rams to a 10-point advantage until the hosts stormed home.
Skinner, who coached the Warren Bulldogs to the league tag title in Castlereagh League this year and assisted Mick Armstrong with the Western league tag side in 2016 and 2017, said the likes of Sophie Stammers and Bec Ford were also brilliant in a beaten side.
“Rebecca Ford was everywhere, she was great. She’s got a lot of potential and could go a long way,” Skinner said.
“The girls were lost through injury were gutted too. They’re looking forward to getting another crack.”
A shot, Skinner says, may come sooner rather than later.
“We’re hoping by end of the week we might have a game with a northern group, they’ll jump on board,” she said.
“But the girls want it, particularly the girls in this team. They’re really keen.”
- RIVERINA 28 (T Katoa 3, R Leao-Seve, H McDonell, S Williams tries; S Williams 2 conversions) def WESTERN 18 (S Stammers 2, M Jones, G Mooney tries; R Ford conversion) at Equex Centre.