Country Women’s Representative Team

NSW Country have won the Harvey Norman National Championships, storming home with two late tries to snatch a 16-12 victory over arch-rivals NSW City in the final at Owen Park on the Gold Coast on Sunday.

A solo try to City halfback Maddie Studdon in the second half broke an 8-8 deadlock but the Country side rallied to level the scores before Ngalika Barker crashed her way over in the corner with a minute remaining.

NSW Country Coach Matt Parish expressed his pride in his team who managed to claim the inaugural Women’s National Championships title; despite their injury toll, missing five players for the Final match against NSW City.

“Our leaders were sensational,” Parish said.

“I can’t give Ruan Sims, Sam Bremner, Kylie Hilder and Kezie Apps enough praise; the way they led the team was outstanding.

“To beat both NSW City and QLD City teams, the two powerhouses of Australian Rugby League, was a massive effort and an amazing feat from NSW Country.

“To win three games and to win the National Championships is a fitting reward for all the hard work the girls put in and demonstrates the commitment they showed to one another.”

Parish admitted he was concerned when the scores were tied 8-all at half time against NSW City as many of the girls we’re playing with injuries and the squad was down to 17 players; having played three games in as many days.

“They were very tired and sore but this is where I have to give a massive wrap to our leaders; all our girls that didn’t play encouraged the team during the game and at half time; they pumped the girls up and were unreal.

“Vanessa Foliaki played with an injury the whole game; she led from the front and showed remarkable courage and braveness to play.

“The younger girls like Hannah Southwell and Mel Howard stepped up to the plate and were also very impressive in the final; given that we had so much experience sitting on the sideline.”

Parish believes the National Championships gave Country players the opportunity to showcase their talent and to be part of the next chapter in Women’s Rugby League.

“I hope our efforts in the Championships will inspire the next generation of female-based Country players because there are some good players there now and certainly some good players coming through.”

Country Captain Sam Bremner capped off a remarkable series by being named Women’s National Championship Player of the Tournament.