New South Wales City have cemented their place as best of the best, taking out NSW Country in this years National Championship.
Featuring many current NSW Origin Stars, City were dominant and undefeated throughout the entire competition, in which NSW shone.
Despite some blow out scores, the weekend was a brilliant display of skill and talent, and will cause a the best kind of headache for Origin selectors and coaches.
Day 1 was a day of blowout scores for New South Wales, starting with NSW City dominating in a 46-0 win against the Combined Affiliated States. A first half hat trick to Kiana Takairangi, and a later hat trick to Corban McGregor saw City unbeatable, despite losing captain Maddie Studdon to a back injury in the second half.
Next up NSW Country impressed with a 54-0 win over the Australian Defence Force team. The reigning champs looked dominant in the 11 try win, with Jillaroos Shakiah Tungai and Kezie Apps both crossing the line more than once.
While NSW looked impressive in day 1, The Queensland teams appeared just as sharp come Day 2.
It started almost a mirror image in regards to scorelines, with South East Queensland beating the Combined Affiliated States 44-0, with 4 try’s set up by halfback Ali Brigginshaw.
The blowout scores continued with Queensland Country beating ADF 40-0. After a two try performance, Queensland Country centre and AFL concert Stephanie Mooka stood out as a possible selection for Origin
Day 3 stood out as a State of Origin prequel, with Queensland and NSW teams playing off to cement their chance at the trophy.
Despite a six point deficit then a scoreline of 18 all with 5 minutes to go, NSW City booked their spot in the final with a 22-18 win of SEQ. While it was tough and hard fought game, it was a hat trick by rugby convert Tiana Penitani that saw City steal the win.
The all NSW final was decided later through a Country showdown, that saw NSW edge out Queensland in a close match. While Queensland country fought a hard and close battle till the final siren, another hat trick to Shakiah Tungai saw NSW just hold on to a lead.
After an action packed three days, the finals ended the series on a high.
The day kicked off with CAS finally getting their first win, toppling the ADF team 10-4. It was a 4-4 until close in the second half, when a speedy try by Darwin’s La-Toniya Norris saw CAS finally get a lead.
Next up was the Queensland Darby, which saw Queensland Country battle it out with South East Queensland for third place and ended in a 16 all draw. It looked all but won for SEQ, until a barging run and offload by Stephanie Hancock set up a try right on full time.
The weekend ended on a high with NSW City vs Country as the battle for the trophy, though what started as a close game ended as a 34-4 crushing by City. With four unanswered tries in the last 11 minutes, the win was revenge for their disappointing loss last year. While the side was boosted by Jillaroos such as Maddie Studdon and Simaima Taufa, their biggest highlight was newer players such as Tiana Penitani, who will hopefully be dominating this years State of Origin