Vipers' Western Women's Rugby League grand final task has become a lot easier with the news Goannas' try-scoring phenom Bec Smyth has been ruled out of Sunday's decider.
While Vipers' road to the decider has largely been a team effort there's little doubt Smyth's influence has played a huge role in the Dubbo-based side's.
Smyth has been one-woman wrecking ball each time she's played this season, having scored three or more tries in each of the three appearances she made in the regular season.
She incredibly got through most of last weekend's semi-final with a broken arm but the injury has forced her out of the grand final.
"She's been key every time she's played," Goannas coach Gerry 'Chicka' Merritt said.
"She's been one of our best but we've got to back ourselves without Bec.
"I truly believe if we can match them for the first 20 minutes we'll go a long way to winning it."
The Wiradjuri side will also be without Western Rams rep Britt Naden too though, further easing Vipers' challenge, although it's still a monumental task to take down the reigning champions.
Naden's craft and guile from the halves will be missing as she's part of a Wellington contingent in the UK to watch Cowboys youngsters Rylee Blackhall and Elijah Collis represent NSW Country.
Alahna Ryan slots into the halves to partner Jinnaya Tyson, having impressed in the number seven jersey when scoring a double in the final round win over the Panorama Platypi.
Emily Caton will move into fullback following Ryan's shift. In terms of the forwards and the absence of Smyth, Merritt has backed captain Cassie Toomey to again deliver.
Toomey has led from the front all season and will again be supported by Forbes pair Maggie Townsend and Kaitlyn Andrews.
Merritt hailed Andrews' defensive ability and also her commitment as she travels from Canberra, where she attends university, every weekend to play to for the Goannas.
Andrews was one of many to impress when the Goannas and Vipers met last month, helping her side score a 26-16 win.
"All in all, I'm 100 percent backing them and I've got the confidence we can do it," Merritt said, looking at the decider.
"All I ask is they turn up and give it their all for each other."
Vipers won through to the decider with a semi-final win over Woodbridge Cup and it's a huge effort considering they weren't even in the competition last season.
They did so on the back of Heidi Regan and Millie Lenehan's doubles inspiring a 34-16 win at Waratahs Sportsground.
The club has three sides in Sunday's grand finals at Eugowra.
While the open side takes on the Goannas in the main game from 1.30pm, Vipers' under 18s also play Wiradjuri and will kick-off at 12.15pm.
Prior to that the Goannas take on Woodbridge Cup in the under-15 grand final from 11am and Vipers play Mudgee in the under 13s from 9.45am.
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