With just two minutes left on the clock, Muswellbrook star Brydie Parker stepped up to the tee and curved home a penalty goal to push the Mounties Women ahead of CRL Newcastle at Aubrey Keech Reserve.
It was a bitter-sweet moment for Hunter rugby league fans, as the local team fell by just Parker’s two kicked points, delivering Rick Stone’s outfit their first loss of the NSW Women’s Premiership season.
For Parker, who made two appearances for the Sydney Roosters in the historic first NRL Womens last year, even scoring one of the 40 tries bagged in the 2018 iteration of the top-level women’s competition, it was a hero moment, and one that sent her state team to the top of the table two rounds in.
It was CRL Newcastle that kicked off the scoring away from home however, as Parker’s Roosters teammate Isabelle Kelly continued her scoring streak in 2019 just three minutes into the clash.
Newcastle haflback Mel Howard slotted home the conversion to give CRL a 6-nil lead four minutes in, but the half wasn’t to go their way in the end.
A rapid-fire double from Tahlia Hunter and Jade Grant between the 23rd and 29th minutes put the Mounties back in control, with Matilda Power slotting home the second of the two conversion chances to slot the home side back into the lead, 10-6.
Hunter found her double 13 minutes into the second half, stretching the team’s lead to 16-6 after the kick, but Newcastle weren’t going to go down without a fight in their second outing of the season.
Holli Wheeler and left winger Alicia Martin – who herself has kick-started her own scoring streak despite the defeat – both crossed the line with minutes between them, and Howard’s second kick just seven minutes out from the final whistle locked the scores back at 16-16.
Then Parker stepped up to the spot with moments left, and twisted the dagger against the Newcastle side, and securing the two points for her Sydney squad.
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The defeat drops CRL’s women’s squad to a 1-1 record to being their 2019 campaign under the watchful eye of former Knights head coach Stone. The team has dropped to fifth place, behind Cabramatta on similar points, while the Mounties, Rabbitohs and Bears have moved ahead with their undefeated opening two weeks.
Newcastle now has a chance to step back into the top four mix as they come up against the North Sydney Bears next weekend, on Sunday April 7. Kickoff will be at 10am at North Sydney Oval.
Mounties 18 (Tahlia Hunter 2, Jade Grant; Matilda Power, Jade Grant conversions; Brydie Parker penalty kick) def. CRL Newcastle 16 (Isabelle Kelly, Holli Wheeler, Alicia Martin; Melanie Howard 2 conversions)