The Canberra Regional Girl’s representative team consisting of girls from Canberra and Goulburn represented themselves outstandingly at a combined schools competition in Sydney on Wednesday.
Conceding just two tries all competition the girls went down fighting in a hard fought game to eventual champions Canterbury conceding a try with seconds on the clock to go down 4-0.
However the girls can hold their heads high as throughout the day they played an exhilarating style of rugby league and backed up their attacking flair by muscling up in defence, with those who made the trip from Canberra all agreeing the girls played at a high standard.
Brittany Thomas from the Gungahlin Bulls who is the youngest player on the team was named by her peers as the Player’s Player for her outstanding play in the half back position.
Maddison Perceval also from Gungahlin had a perfect day with the boot and Elly Hazelton provided some flashes of brilliance including a first half hat-trick in the second game.
In the first game of the day the side grinded out a tough 10-6 victory over Illawarra Sports High School.
After a three and a half hour bus ride the regional girls were going to be tested playing against one of the stronger sides in the competition. One that eventually made it all the way to the grand final before losing to Canterbury.
The encounter was a physical contest with the Canberra forward pack setting the tone early with Nirvana Ngan Woo and Nirada Phonsaya making easy metres up the middle of the ground. Jess Pulford was also handy out of dummy half making good metres.
After absorbing the early pressure, some good defence gave Canberra an early opportunity to score points. It took a strong carry from Maddison Perceval who broke multiple tackles on her way to the line to break the deadlock. Perceval then converted her own try to give Canberra a 6-0 lead.
Rhelisha Roberts and Shannay Little provided important minutes off the bench late in the first half with strong attacking runs. Illawarra looked like scoring late in the first half but some great scrambling defence from Brittany Thomas and Taylah Frost kept Canberra in the lead at half time.
An early error in the second half gave Illawarra good field position to score points, despite some good defence the pressure continued to mount but bone rattling tackles from Shannay Little and Kiara Davis forced errors out of Illawarra.
Canberra was forced to do most of the defending in the second half and Illawarra eventually converted their possession into points, the conversion was successful locking up scores with just five minutes to go.
Chloe Smith was tireless in defence for Canberra forcing the error to give the side a chance to win the game from their own half.
A Brittany Thomas cross field kick on the last tackle was perfectly executed with Elly Hazelton scrambling on the loose ball on the full time whistle to score the try to win the game for Canberra. Skye Churchill was unable to add the extras from the tough angle but it didn’t matter in the end.
It was a momentum boosting win for Canberra who won despite struggling for possession for much of the second half, the win was a testament to the girl’s strong worth ethic in defence.
Canberra 10 defeated Illawarra 6
Canberra: Perceval, Hazelton; Goals: Perceval
In the second game Canberra recorded a comprehensive victory over Strathfield South High School with a 40-0 victory over the Sydney school. Elly Hazelton was outstanding for Canberra with a first half hat-trick.
It all started from the boot of Maddison Perceval who allowed the Canberra side to pin Strathfield inside their 10m line with a centimetre perfect kick off.
Rhelisha Roberts started the attack well with a strong carry off the clearing kick and on the second tackle Hazelton was able to go over for her second try of the competition. Perceval converted the try to give Canberra the perfect start.
Skye Churchill then set up Hazelton for an early double after she drew the defence sending Hazelton through a gaping hole in the defence who then raced 40 metres to score under the posts. Percevel converted the extras to give Canberra a 12-0 lead.
The domination continued with Kiara Davis streaming through the Strathfield defence and Hazelton was again on the edge to finish off the good work bagging an impressive first half hat-trick. Perceval remained perfect with the boot and Canberra were out to a commanding 18-0 lead.
It was obvious the Canberra side was growing in confidence with every possession and Perceval added to Strathfield’s pain when she burst through the defensive line from her own half to score a magnificent solo try.
She then converted her own try to cap off a scintillating first half where the Canberra side completely outplayed their opponents in both attack and defence.
The second half started much like the first when Brittany Thomas added to what was quickly becoming a cricket score line. With Perceval on the bench Skye Churchill took over the kicking duties and continued Canberra’s perfect game with the boot.
Following a great run by Hollie Deaton it became elementary that Canberra would score later in the set. Churchill was able to find a hole and go over to score next to the posts with ease, Churchill was unable to add to her tally with her shot coming off the upright.
Some great defence then forced the error out of Strathfield and Chloe Smith was able to grab the loose ball and score under the posts. Perceval returned to kicking duties to extend Canberra’s lead to 40 points.
Shortly after the full time siren sounded bringing an end to a complete performance from the Canberra side who ran in seven tries to nothing.
Canberra 40 defeated Strathfield South High School 0
Tries: Hazelton 3, Perceval, Thomas, Churchill, Smith; Goals Perceval 5, Churchill
For the third straight game Canberra was able to keep their opposition scoreless with a commanding 22-0 victory over Francis Greenway High School.
Canberra continued to dominate the pool stage of the competition when after a scrum Hollie Deaton was able to race away and charge her way over to score the first try of the game.
The game then took an extended break as one of the Francis Greenway players was escorted from the field after attempting to tackle Deaton. Maddison Perceval converted the try when play resumed.
A near perfect set following the kick off set up by great runs from Rhelisha Roberts and Kiara Davis was finished off by Taylah Frost who was able to dance around the Francis Greenway defence to score next to the post. Perceval continued her perfection with the boot extending Canberra’s lead to 12.
A great set in defence led by Kiara Nickols, Jana Teionen and Aroha Peri was backed up by a brilliant solo run by Brittany Thomas.
Moments later another set was finished off with a try, this time Shannay Little was able to score under the posts. Churchill took over the kicking duties but was unable to convert the try after striking the cross bar with her kick.
The Canberra defence was outstanding with Sandra Dalton forcing the error from deep inside the opposition’s half. Chloe Smith was able to find space out of dummy half and score Canberra’s fourth try in the game.
Elly Hazelton took over the kicking duties converting from the sideline on full time to complete a 22-0 victory, and for the second game in a row Canberra managed to keep their opposition scoreless.
Canberra 22 Defeated Francis Greenway High School
Tries: Deaton, Frost, Little, Smith; Goals Perceval 2, Hazelton
Canberra was then defeated in a heartbreaking loss in the semi-final against Canterbury District 4-0 with Canterbury scoring a try right on the final siren to knock Canberra out of the tournament.
Some great defence early from Canberra denied Canterbury early in an up and down contest with both sides having to defend their line early. Some great team defence was required with Canterbury having a size advantage over Canberra.
A perfect kick down field from Brittany Thomas was turned into good field position, and with Lauren Kelly laying a big tackle on the Canterbury fullback Canberra had possession in Canterbury’s half.
Canberra was unable to capitalise however with Canterbury showing a good defensive line.
In a tightly contested first half neither team was able to break the deadlock. Canberra had the best chances but were unable to breakdown the Canterbury line.
Some determined defence from Maddison Perceval and Nirada Phonsaya and a determined run from Chloe Smith gave Canberra good field position. Another perfect kick from Brittany Thomas chased down by Elly Hazelton forced a Canterbury drop out.
Unfortunately an error right on the line robbed Canberra of a chance to break the deadlock.
It was Canterbury who then on the back of a penalty went down the field and scored the crucial try to give them the lead in the corner, and heartbreakingly for Canberra the final siren sounded soon after signalling their first loss for the day.
Sadly the loss knocked Canberra out of the tournament but the girls played some outstanding football and could hold their heads high conceding just two tries all day.
Canberra 0 Defeated by Canterbury 4