THE reign of Central West in the Thomson Cup lives on for another year after the Blue Bullettes showed everyone that they're still the queens of the state in a 23-0 win over Central North in Sunday's NSW Country Rugby Union Championships final.
(min cost $8)
Login or signup to continue reading
The Bullettes completed a three-peat at the Tamworth tournament, once again going through undefeated on their path towards the title.
Bathurst Bulldogs star Jacinta Windsor scored 18 of the Bulls' points in the dominant final performance and was named the player of the tournament.
The Bulls defended their title in dominant fashion but their path towards the decider wasn't free of challenges, with the biggest of them coming in a tough 11-7 success against the Mid North Coast in the opening clash of the competition.
Bullettes skipper Mel Waterford, one of nine Bulldogs who represented Central West, said the squad peaked at the right time of the tournament.
"The girls played extremely well today and they deserved the win," she said.
"I think from one through to 25 everything really gelled today and we just played the best game of our whole tournament in the final."
Waterford had highlighted the new-look Central West squad in the lead up to the long weekend's competition and the skipper said several of the younger players rose to the occasion.
"Every year it's a bit different because you get different players, sometimes in key positions, and this was a very different year to the others because we probably had to rely on our forwards a little bit more," he said.
"That helped open some space up for the backs. Jacinta deserved her player of the carnival award and she's a great player that just gets stronger every year.
"There's some great girls in there who have only just come up from the 18s, like Holly Jones and Darby Richardson. They were great in the final. Helen Blackmore always plays well and Krystal Fyfe was outstanding.
"It's great having an old head like Marita Shoulders in there. Teagan Miller, Lala Lautaimi and Schnit [Nicole Schneider] really steered those backs well."
Central West accounted for Central Coast 27-5 later in the opening day to top the pool and earn the chance to defend their title.
Windsor scored a try, kicked both of her conversions and hit three penalty goals to bring up her 18 points in the final, while outside centre Lautaimi scored the team's other try.
Central West co-coach Matt Waterford said it's been great to watch the women's game continue to grow in the region and produce brilliant results at the representative level.
"It was an outstanding effort from the girls. They've trained hard and applied themselves well," he said.
"I think we've got a very special group of players at the moment and the best thing is that there's no rockstars, they just all play for each other. Matt Tink provides a quality program for the girls in the Central West and if you do that then the results will come.
"I feel that we play a different style from most of the other teams that come up to the Country Championships. It's about hard work off the ball and looking after your mates."
The opening round battle with Mid North Coast set up Central West well for the rest of the tournament.
"I thought our forwards dominated the midfield to set things up. A bit of luck went our way. We had a hard game against Mid North Coast to start off but we continued to look at the little things and we never got ahead of ourselves," Waterford said.
"Mid North Coast really gave it to us. They were exceptional at the breakdown and gave us a bit of a masterclass in where we needed to get to in that area. We had a couple of old heads who steadied the ship and we were able to capitalise from there."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.