Maitland are on the upswing in the NHRU Women’s Premiership, Blacks coach Kelly Sager believes. With a mix of senior veteran talent, and youngsters eager to learn, Maitland’s campaign can “only grow” as the season rolls on.
Their latest victory came against the combined Easts-University outfit at Marcellin Park on Saturday afternoon. After falling to the Mayfield-based club in the opening round of the league, the Blacks have bounced back to chalk a 22-5 victory in Round 9.
According to Sager, the injection of talented duo Britany Duff and Leah van Zeeland – both of whom crossed for tries in the seventeen-point win on Saturday – has been a “massive boost” for a side that was already well on its way to success.
Halfback star Britany Duff represented Hunter at the NSW Country Championships earlier this year, after making the switch from number eight at the start of the season. Leah van Zeeland, who has joined the Maitland from Holland, has taken the number eight jumper upon joining the Blacks. Both have lifted the club’s form immensely.
“Both the girls are exceptional players, and they bring so much to the rest of the girls in the team as well in terms of teaching the game, and giving them ideas about how to play and how to succeed,” Sager told the Chronicle.
“The whole team is starting to put together things that we’ve been working on. We always knew once we got the whole team together we were going to be pretty hard to stop, it’s just been a matter of getting them out onto the park.”
Read more recent news
- Returning centre star leads Wests to storming victory over Souths
- Banks to lead Australian touch juniors for 2020 test series in Newcastle
- Maitland’s Riordan named in Wallaroos squad; Barker, Stewart to miss home test
Maitland’s veteran stock as also swelled in recent weeks with mid-season appearances from Wallaroos winger Mahalia Murphy.
The Super W champion has linked up with the Blacks in the past few weeks as she looks to settle back into the rhythm of the XVs competition ahead of Australia’s test against Japan at No.2 Sportsground on July 13.
“Mahalia wanted to get a few fifteen-player games under her belt so she’s come and had a run with us,” Sager explained. “Her experience and knowledge of the game has been unparalleled for our young outside backs.”
The win over Easts-University puts Maitland squarely back in the hunt for a top three finish in the Women’s Premiership. With the league-leading Waratahs defeating Merewether-Carlton 52-0, the Blacks also leapfrog the Greens into fourth.
Elsewhere last weekend, Hamilton kept within four points of the Tahs in the standings with a 79-0 win over sixth-placed Medowie. Ebony James led the tryscoring haul with four, while Viana Bainivalu continued her five-point efforts with a hat-trick.
STANDINGS: Waratahs (44), Hamilton (40), Easts-University (16), Maitland (15), Merewether (14), Medowie (0).