Former Orange Hawks, and now Parkes Spacecats, back-rower Sally Dwyer celebrated her international debut with a victory last weekend, helping her Australian Prime Minister’s XIII to a thumping victory over Papua New Guinea.
Although she did play for Group 10, Western and Country Southern this year Dwyer was still plucked from relative obscurity to represent the outfit, which ran in eight tries to one to thump the Orchids 40-4 at Port Moresby on Saturday.
Starting in the back-row alongside fellow Parkes product Talesha Quinn, Dwyer was excellent in her debut, carrying strongly and laying on a 55th minute try for Najveda George as well – the Australians’ sixth four-pointer of the afternoon.
Shakiah Tungai was the real star for the Prime Minister’s XIII though, the winger scoring a marvellous hat-trick to cap off what she called an “awesome” trip, which also included a number of off-field, development-based commitments.
“It felt really amazing, it’s something I didn’t think was going to happen obviously … it’s just awesome,” Tungai said after the game.
“It’s my first time in this green and gold jersey, my first time in PNG, hopefully it’s not my last. It was just amazing.”
Prime Minister’s XIII halfback Quincy Dodd echoed her winger’s sentiments.
“It was the first time I’ve played overseas, it was an epic experience, I loved every moment of it,” she enthused.
“It was great, we had two training sessions and they were excellent. We kept our heads up and executed what we’d practiced too..
“With the community stuff, it was beautiful, all the kids were so happy to see us.”
Dodd laid on the Aussies’ first try, putting Quinn through a gaping hole on the right edge, before Tungai grabbed her first by diving on a Keeley Davis grubber.
Tungai nailed both conversions to give the Aussies a 12-nil lead, before 17-year-old Brisbane ace Revell Blair scored the side’s third from a magical Michaela Peck cut-out down the short side.
Tungai crossed again not long after but the Orchids hit back in the shadows of half-time, cutting the gap to 20-4 at the break.
But the second half started the same way the first did, with an Australian try, this one through skipper Rebecca Young, who ran straight over several Orchids to score next to the sticks.
The clash came to a dramatic halt after that when Hannah Southwell was lifted into an awkward position, but thankfully she was able to walk off despite a concussion.
Dwyer sent George crashing over once the game resumed to put the result to bed, before Tungai snapped up her third and Asipau Mafi capped off the win with a try of her own.
Tungai kicked four of eight conversion attempts, to finish with a 20-point individual haul.
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