RUTHLESS attack, staunch defence and some sneaky hands too - if Western coach Kaitlyn Mason wanted a sign that her side was ready for the Lisa Fiaola Cup she certainly got it on Sunday.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
Her under 17 Rams ran in 10 tries in an hour-long trial against the Monaro Colts at Grenfell to emerge commanding 40-8 victors.
It proved to Dubbo-based Mason that not only is her squad stacked with stars, but that the individual skills each player brings can combine into one very formidable team.
They are a side that can put on points down one end of the field and stop them down the other.
"I didn't actually think it would go like that, we opted at the start not to do any conversions, so that score was 10 tries," she said.
"Our game plan going into the weekend was to work on all the stuff we'd been doing at training. They went out there with that in the back of their head and definitely did it.
"The score line didn't really reflect the game at all. They [Monaro] came with intentions the same as ours and we were definitely in a grind there for 10-15 minutes.
That defence involved holding firm on their own line more than once.
Even when the metres weren't coming easily for the Rams as they backed up after those tough defensive sets, their commitment and determination didn't waiver.
"We've really worked on getting bodies in tackles, slowing the play the ball down. I think their fitness and how they reacted in defence was the difference," Mason said.
"They worked together as a team, they all knew their role with the different positions they played - it definitely showed on the field. There was just a good vibe right across the park, they enjoyed playing their footy.
"There were parts of our game where our forwards did get bogged down and whacked a bit, but they gave just as good as they got. When they did get whacked it would like be another hit up, give it back to me and I'll go again."
When it came to standouts in the match, Mason had quite the list.
"Zoe (Lee) and Bree (Muldoon) from Bathurst defended well on the outside and 'ole Sammy (Hanrahan) sneaky hands got a few one-on-one strips," the coach said.
"Alana O'Loughlin from Woodbridge and Gracie Canham from Vipers were really good in the forwards and got us on the front foot.
"Out back Saxbii Shaw and Georgie Barrett, who was our captain, controlled the game. Georgie will be our captain for the tournament and really led by example.
"Elizabeth MacGregor, she played fullback for us, and she was really good.
"They all did well, they came off and were like 'I'm ready to go again'."
While there are still areas that Mason identified as needing work before Western begins its Lisa Fiaola campaign, like better controlling the ruck, she was also pleasantly surprised by some of the things she saw in the trial.
In particular she was impressed how players from six different clubs communicated to execute their game plan.
"We had a few get out sets that we'd worked on at training, but I didn't think it would work as well as what it did," she said.
"Their communication with each other was really good, it made it a lot easier when they were playing against girls they weren't sure about how they played.
"They stayed positive throughout no matter what they were faced with as a team."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.