BATHURST’S Kandy Kennedy made a welcome return to the Indigenous side for their Friday Women’s All Stars match against Maori but it wasn’t the result she was after.
Maori’s Krystal Rota scored inside the final five minutes to give her team an 8-4 win at AAMI Stadium.
Kennedy was making her first appearance in the team since 2017 and the Indigenous lock wanted to show how far her game had developed in that team.
She certainly had the opportunity to do so on a defensive level.
The indigenous team were on the back foot throughout the entire game against a physical Maori outfit, who dominated possession and field position.
Yet the Indigenous women only found themselves down 4-0 at the break.
The sole try of the opening half came when winger Tyler Birch made the most of an overlap to find the corner in the 11th minute.
With the deficit only at four points the Indigenous side were spurred on to perform during the early stages of the second half.
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It took them just two minutes to level proceedings back up when Shakiah Tungai found the try line.
However, the weight of possession and the physicality of the Maori side became too much for the Indigenous squad to contain.
Rota barged across the line from dummy half to find the match-winning try and the Maori team maintained their margin to claim the Fanning-Murphy Trophy.
Perhaps the most telling statistic from the game was Maori winning the tackle break count 42 to 24.
The try was a special moment for Rota who had undergone a difficult week.
"It’s been a very hard week, to say the least," Rota told NRL.com.
“My daughter has been in hospital while I have been here and that has been a bit of a struggle for me, feeling quite helpless here, and we had our first cousin pass away.
“It was very overwhelming feeling. I told the girls to keep their composure and it would come. It has been an extremely sad week but this makes it bittersweet and to take the win it has made it all worth it."