The women in blue made it two from two on Saturday as Group 10 bested Group 11 at Mudgee’s Glen Willow in both the under 18s and opens Western Women’s Rugby League grand finals.
Although there were several stand-out performers from each side, Kiara Sullivan was undeniably the star of the show as she claimed the under-18 player-of-the-game on the back of a hat-trick and match-winning performance in Group 10’s 26-22 victory.
“She obviously comes from good stock,” Group 10 coach Jordan Dwyer said.
Sullivan is the daughter of Orange CYMS stalwart Scott Sullivan and niece of the club’s legendary player-coach Mick, so it’s no surprise she’s found herself in the spotlight despite being just 15.
“She’s someone that could go as far as she wanted to go really,” Dwyer said, paying Sullivan the ultimate compliment.
After being on the wrong side of a few lopsided scorelines early in the campaign, the Group 10 girls surged towards the finals and didn’t stop until they struck gold.
“The start of the our competition was a bit rough but then we started to click into gear,” Dwyer explained.
“We were lucky to be there but took advantage of it on Saturday.”
It might have been the Sullivan show in the under 18s but Group 10 women’s back rower Kaitlyn Phillips left the final impression during the senior side’s 32-12 win.
Like Sullivan, Phillips was award player-of-the-game and made her mark down the left edge, consistently busting Group 11’s defensive line and scoring two tries in a relatively comfortable victory, one that came on the back of a stunning campaign.
”She was outstanding,” Dwyer said of the former Orange Hawks and now Bathurst Panthers star.
“They all played well and the way they completed their sets in the first 20 minutes I don’t think many teams would have been able to stick with them.”
Dwyer’s opens side put the finishing touches on an undefeated campaign where their defensive efforts throughout were monstrous.
“We only had about 10 points conceded per game which was good,” he said.
- UNDER 18s :GROUP 10 26 (Kiara Sullivan 3, Milika Tuinakauvadra, Millie Lenehan tries; Kiara Sullivan 3 goals) def GROUP 11 22 (Tace Lang, Jacinta Elemes, Taneaka Todhunter, D’arcy Bates tries, Alahna Ryan 3 goals)
- OPENS: GROUP 10 32 (Kaitlyn Phillips 2, Claire Woolmington 2, Grace Mooney, Meredith Jones tries, Bec Ford 4 goals) def GROUP 11 12 (Demi Wilson, Tiffany Clarke tries; Rhianna Sunderland 2 goals)