Bathurst Bulldogs' premiership defence in full swing after finals mauling of Emus

A thrilled Martia Shoulders revealed after her Bathurst Bulldogs side’s 55-5 Westfund Ferguson Cup minor semi-final thumping of Orange Emus that one her side’s wingers “literally has wheels”.

That’s not fair, is it?

Then you zip across to the other side of the field and the Dogs boast a McLaren on the opposite wing.

What hope does anyone have? Short answer: none.

Emus found that out the hard way on Saturday when Kirsten Howard – a professional cyclist – and the aptly named Claudia McLaren showed two of the cleanest pairs of heels in women’s rugby, the Bulldogs fliers bagging a double each in their side’s 50-point win at Endeavour Oval on Saturday.

Shoulders scored a try, too, in fact, seven Bathurst girls got on the score sheet as the defending Central West Rugby Union women’s champions sent a pretty ominous warning to their remaining Westfund Ferguson Cup rivals, CSU Bathurst and West Wyalong.

“I thought it was going to be a close game, so I’m really happy with everything the girls have done throughout the year. We’re putting it together at the right time,” Shoulder said.

“We’ve knocked off West Wyalong already, I missed the CSU game and we’ve got improvement there. I think we can do it.”

Howard scored her side’s first of the match, and from there the Dogs never lost control of the do-or-die semi-final, leading 17-0 by the end of the first quarter.

That lead was extended to 24-0 at half-time, and then 43-0 at the final change before Emus’ Alex Walker got her side on the board late in the final term, rounding out the 55-5 scoreline.

Shoulder said the key to her side’s run at back-to-back crowns is fitness, and a willingness to throw the ball wide.

“Kirsten Howard, she’s a professional athlete in her own right, she’s a professional cyclist, and she’s come to rugby for the first time ever, she’s literally got wheels and her tackling is amazing,” Shoulders said.

“I like giving it to the backs and making them look pretty.”

Milika Tuinakavaudra was a stand-out in limited game time for the Emus, her hard-hitting defence and equally tough running of the ball sensational to watch.

Stand-in Emus coach Davina Wright was super proud of her side’s effort.

“Always proud of the girls, we’ve improved dramatically throughout the season but we were missing some key players today and that showed on the field,” she said.

  • BATHURST BULLDOGS 55 (Claudia McLaren 2, Kirsten Howard 2, Marita Shoulders, Nicole Schneider, Kate Gullifier, Courtney Auld, Ali Stanford tries; Kate Gullifer 4, Nicole Schneider convs) def ORANGE EMUS 5 (Alex Walker try).