The New South Wales Scorpions have made history in the Women’s Elite Eight grand final, defeating the Queensland Broncos 8-5 in an entertaining affair at the National Touch League in Coffs Harbour. The Broncos were aiming for three titles in a row, but it wasn’t to be, outplayed from start to finish by a highly talented Scorpions side.
Hat-tricks to Scorpions stars Yasmin Meakes and Samantha Rodgers capped off a great tournament for both.
Despite the comfortable three-touchdown win, the Scorpions did not always look comfortable. The Broncos had all the momentum after the half-time break and they used this to their advantage, scoring through Rebecca Lapraik just minutes into the second half to make the score 4-3. Lapraik’s touchdown cut the margin to one and the Broncos’ appeared to have all the legs heading towards the last 15 minutes of play.
But after five minutes of great defence, the Scorpions hit back, scoring in the left corner through hat-trick hero Rodgers. The score quickly became 6-3 to the Scorpions, with Yasmin Meakes grabbing her first of the afternoon with ten minutes to play. Meakes then grabbed her second in the 33rd minute, all but icing the game for the Scorpions as they stretched their lead to four touchdowns.
Paige Parker hit back in the 35th minute for the Broncos to give them some hope, but as the minutes ticked by it became clear that it was going to be the Scorpions year. Meakes capped a great tournament for herself in the 38th minute, scoring her third touchdown to kick-off the celebrations for the Scorpions team. The Broncos managed a consolation touchdown in the 39th minute, with Catherine Sargent adding some respectability to the scoreboard to make it 8-5 in favour of the Scorpions.
The Scorpions were deserved winners, leading from the outset after opening the scoring in the 7th minute. They did that through Rodgers who found open space on the right wing to stroll over for a touchdown after some lazy defence. She doubled her tally just a minute later in an almost identical play, and it soon became clear that the Scorpions would look to target the Broncos’ left-side defence.
The Broncos were always going to hit back and they did so through Emily Hennessey just seconds after the Scorpions last score. The match was beginning to open up and with the game on the line it was either teams to win.
In the 15th minute, the Scorpions regained their two-touchdown lead, with Zara Nicholas crossing in the left corner after a slick team play to make it 3-1. The Broncos defence were caught napping by Stephanie Maiolo in the 18th minute and the Scorpions suddenly hit a 4-1 lead.
But the Broncos regained some momentum heading into half-time through the handy work of Sargent who crossed just seconds before the hooter to make the score 4-2 at the break.
It wasn’t enough, with the Scorpions going on with it in the second half to take the 2017 title.
New South Wales Scorpions 8 (Meakes 3, Rodgers 3, Nicholas, Maiolo touchdowns)
Queensland Broncos 5 (Sargent 2, Parker, Hennessey, Lapraik touchdowns)
Player of the Final – Laura Peattie