The St.George Queensland Reds have gone down to the NSW Waratahs Women 45-12 in the 2021 Buildcorp Super W Grand Final in Coffs Harbour.
The Waratahs outscored the Reds seven-tries-to-two, while player of the match Arabella McKenzie slotted five conversions and crossed for a try of her own to amass 15 individual points.
The Reds came out of the box firing, and an early scrum penalty led to the first try of the match, with Liz Patu picking-and-driving close to the line to dive over in 5th minute of the match. Lockhart just missed the conversion, leaving the score at 5-nil.
The Waratahs opened their account in the 14th minute through winger Maya Stewart, Arabella McKenzie missed the conversion leaving the score at 5-all.
The Reds held the Waratahs at bay for the next 15 minutes of play, but a tap-and-go effort from NSW tighthead Eva Karpani saw her crash over on the left-hand side of the uprights. Mckenzie added the extras to put the Waratahs ahead 12-5.
Winger Margot Vella dotted down for NSW’s third try on the stoke of half-time, which McKenzie converted, giving the home-side a 19-5 lead at the break.
The Waratahs continued to build momentum as the second half kicked off, with McKenzie scoring a try of her own in the 49th minute, extending their lead to 26-5.
Loose-head prop Bree-Anna Cheatham dove over the line for Queensland’s second try in the 56th minute, which Lockhart converted to narrow the margin to 26-12. However, NSW answered straight back with fullback Mahalia Murphy breaking through the Queensland defence in the 59th minute.
The Waratahs crossed for a further two tries through Emily Chancellor and Vella to extend the final score out to 45-12.
Head coach Rama Chand said: “We prepared well for today’s match and our first 20 minutes were really good, but in bigger games the margins are small and there were a few key times were we didn’t convert our opportunities into points and NSW built momentum from there.
“The Waratahs were clinical and held control of the match either side of half-time, key minutes in a final, and their experience as a squad was evident.
“Set piece was an area where we looked to build our attack from, but we didn’t have the ascendancy we had aimed for and that limited our ability to execute our game plan.
“I’m really proud of our group, we introduced 12 new debutants to the side this year and as a whole, for players who all come from different clubs, cultural backgrounds and age groups, we came together really well and bonded as a unit.
“We grew a lot over the course of the campaign, but we still have a long way to go if we want to be back in finals Rugby and matching it at the top level.
“A lot of young next generation players have gained exposure within our squad this year, girls who’ve come out of the Brisbane Junior Rugby Ranks or through some of Queensland’s Sevens pathways, and their game time over the last few weeks will be invaluable as they continue to develop.
“The Waratahs are an experienced group with lots of Wallaroos reps within their ranks and that’s where I hope this team can be in the future as our Queensland players continue on their journey, both individually and collectively as a squad.”