THE Panorama Platypi had heart, but the Goanna with the golden fend made the difference when it came their Western Women's Rugby League clash on Saturday.
A hat-trick to star second rower Rebecca Smyth helped lead the Goannas opens side to a 34-22 win over the Playtpi at Wellington, replacing them on the top of the ladder.
As someone who has represented Australia in rugby union and skippered the ACT Brumbies, Smyth's reputation as a genuine match winner has stood for some time.
But Platypi coach Kevin Grimshaw still could not help but be impressed by the efforts of Smyth - who now has 11 tries this season - and Goannas lock Alahna Ryan.
"They played really well, I'll put it this way, without them we would've won. Those two players were the difference, they've got representative players written all over them, especially the second rower [Smyth] she was incredible I thought," Grimshaw said.
"She's very strong, she runs the inside lines very good and she's got a palm that's just unbelievable.
"She took advantage of our fatigue, she picked the spots to run when we were fatigued."
Having only been able to muster 13 players for the round six match, fatigue was always going to be a factor for the Platypi.
Their talent and desire helped drag them back from a 16-0 deficit to have the match locked up at 22-all with 10 to go.
Prop Kandy Kennedy did all she could to inspire the Platypi with a pair of tries, while fellow front rower Molly Kennedy also crossed.
Halves Zarlia Griffiths and Sarah Colman were creative in attack while centre Teagan Miller made good yards with some smart runs from dummy half.
But they were efforts that told.
In scoring her third try Smyth handed the hosts back the lead before Ryan iced the win when she went over for her second.
"They got the better of the last 10 minutes. Fatigue, that's what it was. We only had the bare 13 players and a couple of the under 18 girls stood by for us too which helped us out," Grimshaw said.
"As I said to the girls, we got beat on the scoreboard but I'm not one bit disappointed in our effort. Our effort was outstanding.
"It was a good, hard game, very hard. Kandy played really well to get players' player, but it was a really brave effort from everyone I thought."
It was that brave effort that Grimshaw sees as a big positive for his side.
That they took the contest so deep with limited personnel also has the coach and players excited about what lies ahead.
"We'll be pushing from here and the girls will get a lot of confidence out of today. Even though the scoreboard said we got beat, I think our confidence went through the roof with what we can do," Grimshaw said.
"They aimed right up, I was very happy with the way they played.
"If we play them again it will be a good contest and the same when play Orange again next week, at this stage I think we'll be full strength for the first time all year which will be exciting."
GOANNAS 34 (Rebecca Smyth 3, Alahna Ryan 2, Emily Teale tries; Emma Teale 5 goals) defeated PANORAMA PLATYPI 22 (Kandy Kennedy 2, Molly Kennedy, Zarlia Griffiths tries; Zarlia Griffiths 3 goals)
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