This year’s U15 and U17 Brolga Girls team were selected from a mid-week trial in late July. The trials saw a record number of players attend and made the selection very difficult for U17 coach, Mitch Bebb and new U15 coach Blair Morgan.
Our last training session before heading down to State Champs, we were lucky enough to have Queensland 7’s High Performance Manager, Lachlan Parkinson come up to Townsville to have a chat to the girls and go through some high intensity training. This opportunity was fully taken on board by the girls as they learnt valuable skills from a very experienced coach.
Wednesday – 25th September
The day had finally come, the girls departed Townsville for Brisbane early Wednesday morning. The crew were full of excitement and intrigued to find out how they would compare to the other teams in the state. Once we touched down in Brisbane, we found our hire cars and made our way further south to the Gold Coast where the State Champs would be played at Bond University. The girls had an opportunity to have a final captain’s run at our accommodation in Tallebudgera. Although it was insanely warm and some fatigued bodies, the girls gave a great last session to have confidence sky high for the first game the next morning. The dorms were very quiet that night as everyone got their beauty sleep for a big two days of 7’s action.
Thursday – 26th September – Game Day #1
15’s Game 1 – The first game was U15 v Lloydies (Indigenous Dev Team), the girls were pumped and ready to go! Townsville could not have got off to a better start with Anna Mina Binawel causing major havoc for the Lloydies as she touched down for her first try as well as setting up a few more. The girls from up north improved immensely in their opener and with the Brolgas winning 27-12 in a very positive first display.
15’s Game 2 – The U15’S next fixture was against 2 x time champions Gold Coast Cyclones. It didn’t take long to realise why this team has gone back to back, with exceptional passing skills and game awareness that simply blew Townsville out of the water. Credit must go to Olive Gesa who, when found space, went into 5th gear and ran 60m to score a fantastic solo try. Gold Coast prevailed 39-5 winners.
17’s Game 1 – Game one for the 17’s against CQ got off to a flyer as well, with Brolgas scoring within the first 2 minutes of play, unfortunately CQ had a little more in the tank and as most of the Brolgas could not handle the speed of state level 7’s and it became a little too much. Not even the hard-forward running by Anjeleah Corrigan or the defensive tenacity of Babetha Nona could stop CQ who ran in 3 tries resulting in a 19-12 loss for the Brolgas.
17’s Game 2 – Game two for the U17’s was always going to be a tough ask against a very classy Sunshine Coast, however it was individual performances that were impressive to all at the grounds, Dom Wiggins and Barbra Sigere who left it all on the park. The Brolgas however were convincingly beaten 34-0
15’s Game 3 – Our U15’s were up against a very skilful Sunny Coast team who were full of surprises. The girls got off to a slow start, giving Sunshine Coast a generous lead before Townsville began to gain some momentum. The game was a tight contest for a few minutes but the execution by the Stingrays proved too much and they went on to win 29-5 over the Brolgas. Ava Lago was named best on ground for an exceptional performance.
17’s Game 3 – After two losses for the U17 girls, they had their final game of Day 1 against one of the tournament favorites Darling Downs. The girls started poorly and in the blink of two minutes the score was 17-0. In true Brolgas fashion the girls never gave up. Lead by some great defense by Jazmyn Woodfield and pilfering by Dom Wiggins, it allowed Daisy Pickering and Zarah Shadbolt to make big meters in the middle before plays by Kaitlin Daley and Babra Sigere lead to a great try on the stroke of halftime. A Late flurry of tries to the Darling Downs in the final stages unfortunately blew the score out, 34-7.
Friday – 27th September – Game Day #2
15’s Game 4 – The U15’s did very well Day 1 to stand 3rd overall in Pool B and now face 4th Position of Pool A in a playoff game against our Northern rivals FNQ. It didn’t take too long for our girls to show what they are capable of by scoring 3 very impressive tries before half time. A try to FNQ before the break, did not slow the girls down with the Brolgas team overpowering the Thunder and prevailing 27-5 in an emphatic win. This win now gave the Brolgas a chance to finish 5th overall against the Lloydies.
17’s Game 4 – It was as a simple equation for the U17 Brolgas Girls, win and we improve from last year and play off for 5th/6th, standing in their way were the Lloydies. Some sore bodies and new starters saw just how much these tournaments allow players to develop. Zoe Jenkins starting the game with some great running lines to create field position early and then a duo of Dom Wiggins and Danielle Sladden teaming up in attack to make it very difficult for Lloydies to get any momentum. A late scare by Lloydies closed the scoring gap but the girls closed out the game for a 22-19 Victory
15’s Game 5 – This was the final match for our U15 Brolgas Girls and a great opportunity to come out with a 5th place finished in the state, with the Lloydies the only obstacle. The girls started off very poorly with sloppy handling gave Lloydies an early 12 point lead. As usual though, the Townsville girls clawed their way back into contention with Olive Gesa scoring another great try and closing the gap to 7 points. Townsville threw everything at this Lloydies team but could not break through their strong, scrambling defence going down 17-5 to finish 6th in the state overall. Considering majority of our team were only 14, it is very pleasing for the future of Girls 7’s rugby in Townsville.
17’s Game 5 – The Last game of the tournament for the 17’s would see the Brolgas have a rematch against CQ for the 5th / 6th playoff game. It was a game that saw the Brolgas again swing momentum in the middle of the game once again. With Neeve Gallagher everywhere and some raw speed from Barbara Sigere in the second half producing points off great counter runs from Macy Dabelstein. It was fitness and physicality that would be the determining factor for this game with CQ getting the wood on the Brolgas for 2019 winning 27-12!
With continued development from our clubs and the TDRU, the girls game in our region is strengthening and Coach Mitch Bebb and Blair Morgan believe that the Brolgas are not far from challenging the SEQ teams for a place in the top 4. Huge shout out must go to Josephine Coddington who ran water for both teams as well helping with warmups and being a star photographer. Also, to Cathy West for being a fantastic manager and always looking out for the group!
- PLAYERS PLAYER – Anna Mina Binawel – Teachers West
- COACHES AWARD – Ava Lago – Burdekin
- MOST IMPROVED – Logan Roncato – Burdekin
- PLAYERS PLAYER – Barbara Sigere – North Ward
- COACHES AWARD – Dom Wiggins – Charters Towers
- MOST IMPROVED – Kaitlin Daley – Burdekin
- BEST PERSON ON TOUR – Daisy Pickering – Charters Towers