Newcastle’s Katrina Barker and Maya Stewart have started their 2019 campaign with the Waratahs women off on the right foot, as the NSW outfit downed the Brumbies 26-0 in the opening match of the season.
Helped along with a crucial Grace Hamilton double, the team began their season as defending champions, a title they reminded everyone in the league of as they put four unanswered tries on the travelling Queensland team.
While Cheech Barker will just be pleased to make her return to the Super W field after an injury at the end of last season sidelined her for months, young rookie Stewart would be celebrating her first outing on the left winger for the Waratahs.
After opening her account against the Brumbies in the Super W trial just a month ago, Stewart played her lines well and contributed to keeping the Queenslanders from scoring even a single try.
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NSW Waratahs Super W coach Matt Evrard has heaped the praise on the fledgling Newcastle rugby star, calling her a “phenomenal athlete” after she joined the NSW squad.
“She would easily have the best top-end speed in our team and we had a few Wallaroos in our back three last year,” Evrard said. “Her speed in space is electrifying. She still has a lot to learn around the 15s. We will be doing everything we can to get her into a bit of space.”
“I think she will surprise. We have a few ideas on how to get the ball out to her,” he said. “We have a couple of little starter plays. We have been doing a lot of work on our kicking, attacking kicks so that we bring those fast girls into the game. Hopefully we see a bit of that.”
The Waratahs next face the Queensland Women on March 10 at Leichhardt Oval. The match will kickoff at 3pm, and will be aired on Foxtel Sports and new streaming service Kayo Sports.