THE Bathurst Bulldogs fell one win short of claiming the inaugural Central West Rugby Union Women's Summer Sevens Series on Friday night, going down 33-12 to Orange Emus in the decider.
While Bulldogs were the form side of this year’s Ferguson Cup premiership, the line-up for the sevens competition took on a very different look.
With regulars like NSW Country representative Marita Shoulders and talented centre Nicole Schneider sidelined due to injury, Bulldogs took the chance to blood new players.
The Bathurst squad also included players from CSU given the university club did not have the numbers to field its own outfit.
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While the new players meshed well with the regulars, in the end an Emus side led by ACT Brumbies Super W training squad stars Em McDonald and Jacky Lyden was too strong.
The grand final win capped an undefeated campaign in the process.
“It’s really exciting, it was a great way to finish the competition,” Emus player-coach Amanda Ferguson enthused.
“The girls had trained really hard all the way through and they’re all very passionate about the game, so to get the win is great for them.
“It was really, really good rugby too. The final was a great game, Bulldogs played really well too.”
There’s no doubt Ferguson was stoked with the premiership, but she made a point of highlighting how beneficial the competition looks to be for the region.
“The number of players, new players in particular, that had a go is really encouraging,” Ferguson said.
There was a plethora of multi-sport talent that turned out in the inaugural competition and Ferguson, who has a Central West and NSW Country focus as well, says the challenge now becomes retaining those players.
She said she’s hopeful a number of them will turn out in next year’s Westfund Ferguson Cup too, at least those the greens picked up during the competition.
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The Summer Sevens Series welcomed a number of teams that didn’t contest last year’s 11-team Westfund Ferguson Cup.
Narromine, Coolah and Dubbo Kangaroos all contested the Northern Division of the sevens tournament, and while only the Gorillas fronted for Friday night’s final round at Endeavour Oval, there remains a chance the burgeoning sides could join an expanding competition proper in 2019.
However it remains to be confirmed, as does the question of whether Young and Boorowa – who return to Central West next year – will field their own women’s sides as well.