ST PAT’S were unable to prevent the Blayney Bears from claiming the club’s first Group 10 premiership since 1999 in a thrilling 7-6 league tag grand final in the wet at Wade Park.
They were one-two in the Group 10 player of the year votes, and Sophie Stammers and champion Liv Bird came up with the big plays in a corker of a clash against the defending champions, who were aiming for a third crown.
Stammers scored her side’s only try, bursting on to a pass from sister Hannah to race into the back field, then burn Australian University Sevens gun Darcie Morrison on the outside to score a grand final four-pointer to savour.
St Pat’s got back into the the game thanks to a 100m special from Bronte Emanuel and subsequent Mish Somers conversion to snatch a 6-4 lead.
With Blayney awarded a penalty 10m out just to the right of the sticks Bird slotted the two points, then, on her team’s next set of six, potted the match-winning field goal.
St Pat’s mentor Mick Armstrong said a dominant period in the opening half where his side just couldn’t quite crack the Bears defence proved telling.
“We had a lot of ball in the first 15 minutes and just couldn’t convert it. It was going to be one of those days where the game was always going to be close,” he said.