Group 11 coach Nicholas Wilson putting "massive emphasis" on Group 10 rivalry leading into WWRL final

UP FOR THE BATTLE: Tarlee Roberts and her Group 11 teammates take on Group 10 in the final on Saturday. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM
UP FOR THE BATTLE: Tarlee Roberts and her Group 11 teammates take on Group 10 in the final on Saturday. Photo: JENNY KINGHAM

The sting of the Group 11-Group 10 rivalry has diminished somewhat in recent years.

The change from open-age to under 23s on the representative scene has seen the end of the classic trial match between the two sides where Western jerseys go on the line.

But that rivalry is set to light up this weekend, and keep burning into the future, as the two foes meet in the inaugural Western Women’s Rugby League grand final at Mudgee’s Glen Willow.

“There’s always been that great rivalry in the men and for us, we’re trying to create that now in the women’s,” Group 11 coach Nicholas Wilson said.

“Our girls don’t like their girls when they’re on the field. When they’re off it and when they’re playing Rams I think it’s different.

“But we’re putting massive emphasis on it. We don’t want to get beat by Group 10.”

Wilson didn’t stop there. While his side will start as underdogs in the decider against an undefeated Group 10 outfit he has belief in his outfit, something that hasn’t wavered since round one.

He said it would be a massive thing for Group 11 to get its name on the silverware in the maiden season of the tackle format within the western region.

“Group 10 are the cocky sort of people who think they’re a bit better than us but we’re passionate about our football and we know we’re more than capable of giving them a tough game of footy,” he said.

“We’re looking forward to it and if we’re not able to win then Group 10 will know they’ve really had to work for it.

“We’re hoping for a very, very physical game.”

There’s plenty of talk from Wilson but there’s also been plenty of effort and work put into the side as well.

Group 11 player Amy Townsend said her side can’t thank the coach enough for what he has done and said the fundamental skills he has taught this season will stay with them for the rest of their careers.

Those skills have developed as the season has gone on, and after a 30-4 loss the first time the two sides met it was a far closer 26-22 scoreline in the last meeting.

The fact five of the Group 10 players will be backing up after playing for Southern Country on Saturday morning also plays into Group 11 hands.

Wilson is aware of Group 10’s class and had plenty of praise for the work coach Jordan Dwyer has done there but he’s still gunning for that title.

“I’ve always said we’re more than capable of beating them and I stick to that,” Wilson said.

“But we’re going to need to be at our best and Group 10 will have to drop off a little.

“What we’ve put emphasis on is this is the last contact, tackle game they’ll play for six months so make the most of it.”

Group 11 will also need strong performances from key players, namely forward leader Rhianna Sutherland and attacking sparks Britt Naden and Tarlee Roberts.

“They need to stand up but in the last couple of weeks some of what you might call our lesser-known players have stepped so they (Group 10) will be in for a surprise because we’ve gone up a level.”

While the belief and talent is there, Group 11’s chances also come down to ball control in the final.

Group 10 has been electric in attack this season and has scored 44 more points than Group 11 despite playing one less game.

Saturday’s final kicks off at 4pm.