The NSW Waratahs have put in a dominant display in their 2021 Buildcorp Super W season-opener, with a comfortable 47-26 against hosts, the Queensland Reds.
Maya Stewart continued her red-hot form from last season, bagging an incredible four tries and setting up one for fellow winger and debutant, Margot Vella.
Stewart’s contribution led to the biggest ever margin between the two sides, with only three-points separating them in their last three encounters.
It was a match that started with plenty of physicality with the Reds asserting their dominance in the early exchanges. The Waratahs weathered the storm and generated phases which resulted in Piper Duck opening the scoring courtesy of a great ball by Georgina Friedrichs in the sixth minute.
Off the back of that, Maya Stewart burnt her opposing Winger and a pick-and-go try gave her an early first half double before a high shot saw the speedster serve 10 minutes on the sideline.
The Reds made the Tahs pay during that time with five points, but upon Stewart’s return, her first touch back resulted in another linebreak to link up with Margot Vella for her first try in the Buildcorp Super W.
The forwards continued to lay the platform courtesy of strong carries from Piper Duck, Grace Hamilton and Sera Naiqama, while the work at the breakdown from number seven Emily Chancellor gave Iliseva Batibasaga clean ball at Scrumhalf.
Stewart picked up her hat-trick just before the break and a brilliant kicking display by Arabella McKenzie saw the Tahs go into half time with the score at 33-5.
While the Waratahs started the second half the way they finished the first, with Stewart crossing for another try, the Reds generated some momentum with two of their own. One of these tries came after Arabella McKenzie became the second Waratah to receive a yellow card – again for a high tackle.
With the score at 40-19, and back playing 15 a-side, the visitors were still guilty of a few errors in attack which gifted the Reds possession and chances to post more points. Despite the scrappiness, contributions from the Waratahs’ bench were solid especially through a great linebreak from Layne Morgan and support by Bridie O’Gorman.
Mahalia Murphy was damaging at the back all game and bumped off multiple defenders with ball in-hand. She was rewarded with a late try, displaying brute strength with her fend but it was the Reds who finished the scoring with a consolation try to Cecilia Smith in the 79th minute.
While Georgina Friedrichs did not get on the scoresheet, she was one of the stand-outs on field particularly with her courageous cover tackles and quick feet at 13.
NSW Waratahs 47 (Tries; 4 M Stewart, P Duck, M Vella, M Murphy. Goals; 5 A McKenzie, P Piliae) def QLD Reds 26 (Tries; C Smith, L Kaleti Mataafa, B Cheatham, Sekona, Goals; 3 L Lockhart)