Wests have kept an incredible defensive record after defeating arch-rivals Souths 6-nil on Sunday morning – the Rosellas have yet to concede a point in five games in the Newcastle Rugby League Blues Tag this season.
It’s been a defensive focus, and “playing for each other to the last gasp” that has guided the defending champions to an invincible 70 points score, zero allowed after having played five of their eight rivals this year.
According to coach Chris Stephens, five-eigth Tahlia Goldsmith dictated the side’s defensive efforts, and even nicked a few tags to deny certain tries for the Lionesses at certain points in the clash.
“Tahlia moved into five-eighth on the weekend and she got some absolutely great tags, and this year she’s just been going from strength to strength,” he said. “When she’s on, it’s really difficult to get back her I think.”
While the Rosellas were able to keep their rivals scoreless at Townson Oval on Sunday, it was livewire flanker Bobbi Law that broke open the game. The Wests star, who has recently been lighting the 13-a-side world on fire as well, caught a ball on the line from Tazmyne Luschwitz, and slipped past a handful of defenders to snag her four-pointer.
Wests had already claimed two points earlier, however, after a penalty gave them the chance to notch first blood in the battle. Kristy Houghton converted the opportunity, and put the Rosellas’ noses ahead before Law’s key effort.
“We’ve had a great rivalry the last couple of years between ourselves and Souths in the league tag, we’ve won a couple and they’ve won a couple but they’ve often had us on the ropes,” Stephens said. “That rivalry has always been close to our hearts, mine especially because of how long I’ve played with the club, and I think that’s rubbed off on the girls when they face Souths for sure.”
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While the Wests boss has guided his squad to a 5-0 record thus far in 2019, he believes the competition is the “closest and toughest it’s been in a long time.” To be challenged in every one of their games so far in the Blues Tag competition shows “how good everyone is really getting.”
“The league is looking so good, we only have one or two more games to round out our first round of fixtures and we’ve been pushed in every game we’ve had,” he said. “Looking at some of the other teams, like Nelson Bay recently, there’s so much talent just filtering into the league and I believe we’ll just continue to see it get better.”
Elsewhere in the fourth round of the Newcastle Blues Tag competition, Nelson Bay capitalised on their first win of the season last week with a strong 58-nil outing versus Macquarie. Haley Dews and Emma Cram both claimed hat-tricks against the Scorpions, while Dews also kicked five goals for the Sharks in the contest.
Also on Saturday, Central kept pace with the Rosellas after a 24-4 result against Cessnock went their way, and Kurri Kurri edged a 2-nil victory over Maitland – the second time in as many weeks a club has won by a penalty goal. Amelia Billingham slotted the winning goal for the Bulldogs at the Kurri Kurri Sportsground.
TABLE: Wests, Central (10), Souths, Kurri, Maitland (6), Lakes, Nelson Bay, Macquarie (4), Cessnock (0).