The Dubbo Devils women’s seniors side may have raised some eyebrows at the weekend’s NSW Touch Football State Cup but a run to the semi-finals came as no shock to player-coach Corrine Medlin.
The women's seniors side was one of two sides from the Dubbo Touch Football Association which competed at Coffs Harbour, the men’s opens side making the semi-finals of the Shield section of the tournament.
That was the best result of any Dubbo men’s side ever at the State Cup.
The Devils women, heading into the tournament after claiming the Country Championships in October, downed the likes of the Wallsend Wolves, Maitland Redbacks and Newcastle City Knights on their run to the semis.
“I thought were were a chance but no one else did, except us,” Medlin said.
“We beat Maitland and Wallsend and they were probably fancied to beat us.
I thought we were a chance but no one else did.Corrine Medlin
“The only team that beat us by more than two touchdowns was Cronulla, and they won the final.”
Making the effort even more impressive is the fact the Dubbo side was under strength for much of the first day-and-a-half of competition.
Matches started on Friday and while 11 of the 14-strong squad was in attendance others, including star Bec Smyth, had issues with flights and missed the opening few games.
It mattered little as Dubbo started with 4-0 and 3-0 wins over the Central Coast Dolphins and Penrith Panthers respectively before a heavy 9-1 loss to the Cronulla Sharks.
That was followed by a tight 1-0 loss to the Canterbury Bulldogs and then a 4-2 defeat at the hands of grand finalists Manly Sea Eagles.
Despite a run of three losses, Dubbo produced its best play in its final two pool games, downing Maitland and then Wallsend, 5-4 and 5-3 respectively.
“My real goal was to make the semi-finals so I was really pleased but on that second day I saw Wallsend play and they looked really strong,” Medlin said.
“I wasn’t as confident then but we played out of our skin against them and beat them quite convincingly.”
That landed Dubbo a semi-final clash with Cronulla and while that match began evenly the eventual premiers ran away with it.
“They just had too much speed and fitness,” Medlin said.
“I don’t know if 9-2 reflected the game but they were too fast and too fit.”
Cronulla then went on to beat Many 4-1 in the decider.
While Medlin said it was hard to single out any one player or single moment which was a highlight, the team did recognise a pair of players at the end of the weekend.
Emma Fitzgerland was named players player after starring in her first tournament back from a knee reconstruction.
Originally starting as a winger, Fitzgerland moved infield with Medlin battling with injury and she made her presence felt there.
Medlin awarded Serena Prout, also a winger, the coach’s award.
Medlin also got the chance to see the Devils’ men, who played in the Open B division, show their wares.
After winning just one pool match and then two in the second round, Dubbo downed Doyalson in the finals before being beaten 7-4 by eventual champions Ballina Bullsharks.
“The men are really improving and really starting to play a similar style to what the other top teams play,” Medlin said.
“Tim Boney was great, he’s only 17 but he showed so much control out there and it was good to see them do so well.”