A stunning three-try performance from Sophie Stammers has lifted Western to a monumental 22-6 win over Riverina in the second round of the league tag Country Championships on Saturday.
Travelling to Group 20 territory to get the job done, the Rams girls were in control for the entirety of the match at West Wyalong’s Ron Crowe Oval, turning a 10-0 half-time lead into a fairly comfortable 14-point victory.
Alongside Stammers, Western’s best were Cargo gun Heidi Regan, Bathurst Panther Amy Hotham and Dubbo CYMS flyer Rikka Lamb, the quartet rotating between fullback and wing positions throughout the game with great effect.
Regan scored Western’s other four-pointer, while five-eighth Mish Somers nailed three goals in the second round win, one coach Mick Armstrong saw coming.
As far as I know we’ve only got to win two more games and we’re country champs.
“I thought we’d go well against them, we’ve gelled really well as a side and we’ve got a lot of experienced players that have played a lot of footy together, which helps having that run last week only made us better,” Armstrong said, Western beating Monaro 18-14 last weekend.
“I was pretty confident we’d put in a good performance and we did and got the two points.
“We controlled the game well and scored a few tries late to run away with it, which is great.”
It’s a confidence boosting win for Western, a side that was knocked out in the opening round of the championships last season.
Beating Monaro and then storming to a great victory over Riverina, an outfit that draws on league tag strongholds in Group Nine and Group 20, will stand Armstrong’s side in good stead heading into the third round – just one win away from a country championship final.
“That’s right, as far as I know we’ve only got to win two more games and we’re country champs, we’ll just take each game as it comes and hopefully keep improving and put in good performances, and if we get beaten, then we’re beaten by a better team not based on the way we played,” he added.
Armstrong was thrilled with the effort of all 15 girls, but reserve special mention for his back four – Lamb, Hotham, Regan and the electric Stammers.
The quartet brings an abundance of speed to Armstrong’s line-up – a character-trait Western lacked in last year’s round one exit.
“Sophie was good, we had a four player rotation with the two wingers and fullbacks, (they) were all really good at bringing the ball back and got involved in the play … I was really happy with those four,” he said.
WESTERN RAMS 22 (Sophie Stammers 3, Heidi Regan tries; Mish Somers 3 goals) def RIVERINA 6 (Tess Staines try; Emily Perrot goal)