The NSW Waratahs Women have fallen short of the reigning champions 17-20.
The Waratahs Women returned to Concord Oval with last year’s Grand Final loss fresh in their mind, despite their victory earlier in the year against Drua the Aitken's Women fell short by 3 points.
It was a game not for the faint-hearted as Waratah Women put their bodies on the line and played with their hearts throughout the 80 minutes.
Captain Piper Duck and Grace Hamilton were standouts for the Waratahs. Both were strong ball carriers and were continuously relentless at the break down, winning possession on multiple occasions.
Leilani Nathan got through an impressive 80-minute performance, leading the team in both attack and defence.
Aitken's bench was also strong, and they lead a final charge for victory.
The Waratahs came out of the gates quickly and started strong. Desiree Miller continued her strong form, scoring the opening try within the first minute.
Miller was able to pounce on a loose Fijiana ball and make a clean 30-metre line break to dive over the line. Desiree was able to convert her own try.
The momentum continued as our Sky Blue women struck again a few minutes later.
Off the back of a solid scrum, Layne Morgan was able to bounce to the blindside and give Maya Stewart a clean run to give the Tahs their second try for the day.
Aitken’s women did not stop there, with Adiana Talakai converting a well-executed rolling maul to push the score to 17-0.
Unfortunately for the Women, this was their final points for the day, as all the momentum shifted in Drua’s favour.
Drua hit back with some points of their own, scoring two consecutive tries to head into halftime behind by 5.
Drua dominated the second half with possession and field position. Fijian kicked the first points of the half from a close-range penalty goal.
The Tahs wouldn’t roll over, managing to grind through with their solid blue wall of defence. They were able to prevent Drua from scoring from a 20-minute barrage.
In an attempt to bring some more spark, Aitken brought fresh substitutions on with Loretta Mailangi and Katalina Amosa coming on to bring more physicality in the defence. This looked to have worked with the Tahs marching their way down the field.
Through some silky hands and multiple phases, the Women looked to have scored in the corner, however, the ball was lost over the line.
With just ten minutes to go, Drua leapt over the try line adding salt to the wound and taking the lead for the first time in the match.
The Waratahs Women had one last shot, with multiple lineouts and scrums on the Drua’s 5-metre line, but sadly they were unable to convert.
The Fijiana Drua would hold on to win 17-20 and head to Townsville for the Buildcorp Super W Final
After a successful season finishing in top place after the round fixture, our NSW Waratah Women were unable to go that extra step and make their sixth Super W Final.
Aitken spoke after the match recognising that this homegrown Waratahs team are still really young. They will look to the off-season where they can continue to craft their skills as they build towards another season.
Next, our Waratah Women will be turning their attention to securing a position in the Wallaroos squad later this year. The Wallaroos will take on Fiji at Allianz Stadium on the 20th of May.
TRIES: Miller, Stewart, Talakai
CONS: Miller 1/3
TRIES: Va’aga, Va’aga, Rasolea
CONS: Tisolo 1/3
PENS: Tisolo 1/1