The NRMA NSW Country Corellas opened their season with two impressive displays against the Australian Capital Territory and the Sydney representative teams at Campbelltown Showground on Sunday, 7 June 2015.
The matches were played in perfect weather conditions and formed the annual triangular round robin between the three unions, which traditionally opens the representative season.
Under the direction of new coaches Michael Burgess and Murray Hooper, and with eight players making their Country debuts, the 2015 Corellas displayed a new style in both attack and defence.
ACT was the first to encounter the Corellas and it didn’t take long for them to realise the girls from the bush meant business, and they quickly found themselves 14 points down on the score board. A short recovery by the girls from the National Capital saw the score line close to 14 – 7, but after half time the Corellas went up a notch to run out 24 – 7 winners.
The win saw the Corellas retain the Southern States Shield and put the team in good stead for their second match of the day against Sydney.
The match against Sydney saw the Harbour Siders open the match on a positive note, and after only three minutes had skipped away to a 7 – 0 lead when they caught the Corellas napping in defence.
This score stirred the Corellas into action and they basically rolled up their sleeves and took the play to Sydney in both attack and defence. This period of play saw the ball advanced up field with strong running by both the forwards and backs, and when in defence they continually knocked over their Sydney opponents.
The Corellas’ style of play was confronting and started to force Sydney into error, which was compounded with a string of penalties which kept the Corellas on the front foot. Something had to give and the score was leveled midway through the half, and just on half time the Corellas went to the lead 12 – 7 which they held to the break.
Sydney changed their attacking plan after the break and attempted to run around the Corellas, but the defence held and it was the Corellas who skipped out to a 15 – 7 lead midway through the half.
A steady stream of ball saw Sydney able to apply pressure, and they were rewarded when they crossed in the corner for a try to close the gap to 15 – 12, and it was game on.
It wasn’t long before Sydney scored a converted try in the other corner to go to a 19 – 15 lead, but the Corellas continued to hang in, but they couldn’t get the next score.
Sydney wrapped up the match in the final play of the day to cross for a converted try and take out the match 26 – 15, which was a little disappointing for the Corellas given the way they had played the match.
Coaches Burgess and Hooper were very pleased with the two performances, and are looking forward to the National Championships which will be played in two weeks time.
NRMA NSW Country Corellas – 24
Ashley Van Den Boogaard, Candice Clay, Tahlia Goldsmith & Sarah Valhenborghs Tries, Mel Howard 2 Conversions.
Australian Capital Territory – 7 Try & Conversion
Sydney – 26 4 Tries & 3 Conversions
NRMA NSW Country Corellas – 15
Annika Jamieson & Margaret Watson Tries, Mel Howard Conversion & Penalty Goal
NRMA NSW Country Corellas
Amy Broadhead (Hunter), Candice Clay (Hunter), Tammy Clay (Hunter), Renee Cross
(Hunter), Jacqui Dudgeon (Hunter), Britney Duff (Hunter), Krystal Fyfe (Central West),
Tahlia Goldsmith (Hunter), Niwa Gotty-Ogden (Hunter), Erin Green (Hunter), Sarah
Halvorsen (Barbarians), Angela Hipwell (Hunter), Mel Howard (Hunter), Annika Jamieson (Hunter), Dana Lautaimi (Hunter), Skye Lovett (Hunter), Jennifer Mauli (Hunter), Alanna
Patison (Hunter),Olivia Patterson (Central West), Sarah Valkenborghs (Hunter), Ashley Van Den Boogaard (Barbarians), Inge Visser (Central West), Margaret Watson (Hunter), Natasha Watts-Tehiko (Central West), Martha Webber (Barbarians).