Just days out from the 2019 Super W decider, Newcastle superstar Cheech Barker touched on her desire to score a try this season, telling the Women’s Chronicle she “wanted to grab a a meatpie” before the national competition ended.
The problem, funnily enough, was that she felt she had been too unselfish so far this season, offloading chances to teammates to “make sure [they] won the game”.
While Barker may not have got the ‘meatpie’ she was after in the Sunday afternoon decider, the veteran centre – who didn’t have the opportunity to end the championship game last year after an elbow injury – played one of the biggest roles of the clash.
Queensland took the lead early in the low-scoring game, taking advange of Nelson Bay’s Maya Stewart copping a yellow card in the first half to send Alana Elisaia down the right flank and over the line.
The defending champions seemed to slip slightly after the major went against them, struggling to finish sets and keep control of the ball, before the half-time whistle heralded the end of the first stanza. NSW sat behind the eight-ball, and trailing in the 5-3 contest.
Then Barker had her chance to either go for that ellusive 2019 try, and send one of her teammates in. The No.12 didn’t think twice after a phenomenal left-foot step opened a gap in the line for her. The offload to Grace Hamilton was sublime. The try that followed, glorious.
Although it was the three points gathered from the penalty kick in the first half that eventually seperated New South Wales and the defeated Queensland outfit, it was Barker and Hamilton’s combination that put them back ahead, and sealed the 2019 championship for the ladies in blue.
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“To win and go through undefeated again is just a credit to our girls and this team,” NSW captain, and player of the match Ash Hewson said.
“It was a very tough battle. We tried to be patient. I was screaming from the back trying to slow it down. It’s a really great rivalry. A lot of us are mates and there was a bit of niggling and chat on the field.”