Central have qualified for the Newcastle Rugby League Blues Tag grand final with an 18-0 victory over third-placed Wests at Harker Oval this weekend, while the defeated Rosellas drop into the preliminary final against rivals Souths.
The Butcher Birds looked to have struck their opening blow off a mistake at the back, as Wests’ fullback nearly failed to ground the ball in the in-goal, but the Rosellas escaped punishment in the 19th minute.
Lily Goodchild opened the scoring properly for the home side in the 28th minute, after a dummy from Taylah Gray put the number seven through a gap in Wests’ defensive line. Rachel Jeffs doubled the advantage soon after.
Brodii Ingram was the last to score for the Birds, carving straight through the middle of the Rosellas in the 39th minute to put the game beyond doubt for the minor premiers. Blance Morrissey added points with two kicks, while Tahnee Milgate slotted one.
Souths had a tighter battle on their hands as they faced fourth-placed Lakes in the elimination semi-final last weekend.
Lakes had the first chance to open the scoring through a penalty kick just ahead of the 20th minute, but the conversion soared just left of the sticks.
Breanna Halton was the first to cross the line for a try in the narrow match, with Souths spreading the ball wide to allow the number three to find space on the Seagulls’ right flank. Amy Waterhouse added what would prove to be pivotal extras.
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Niesa Case struck back for Lakes late on in the 45th minute, scoring in a similar place to the Lionesses four-pointer earlier in the contest, but the missed kick moments later left the fourth-placed team trailing by two key points.
The 6-4 win for Souths gives them a second chance at rivals Wests next weekend in the league’s preliminary final, while Lakes see their Blues Tag campaign end by just a single conversion.
The Wests vs Souths rematch will be played at 10am on Sunday, September 15. The Blues Tag decider, where Central wait in one of the two precious spots, will be played a week later at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday, September 22.