The sizeable crowd leaving Robertson Oval at Dunedoo on a rainy afternoon on Sunday would have had few complaints about the standard of the rugby league that they had just witnessed in what was the historic opening round of the Western Women’s Rugby League Championships (WWRLC).
Cobar’s Zoë Harland and Bianka Jacobson were part of the Castlereagh team that ran away to win the seniors match 36-0.
The final score however did not indicate the commitment and skills of both sides and it was probably an unfair result in terms of what the Woodbridge team put into the game
In the end, the Greg Larkin coached Castlereagh League outfit ran out big winners and looked like they had been playing together for some time.
Certainly that was not the case, but their polished performance showed that they will be a team to be respected in the WWRLC.
The game opened at a cracking pace and it was Castlereagh’s front rower Channy Burgess (Coolah) who opened the scoring after seven minutes when she crashed over under the posts.
Tori Canham (Coonamble) delivered what was to be the first of her faultless six goals and the Cougars were up 6-0.
Woodbridge responded and a high quality period of play from both sides saw no change to the scoreboard until Burgess again proved too hard to handle in the 24th minute and Castlereagh led 12-0.
With half time looming, the multi talented Canham, playing at five-eighth, toed through a loose ball from Woodbridge near half way and, showing her soccer skills, dribbled it to the in goal before pouncing on it to score her first try to make it 18-0 which was to be the half time score.
The second half opened with some spirited attack from the Woodbridge girls but they were to be denied by some equally resilient Castlereagh defence.
In the seventh minute the Cougars worked the ball downfield and, on the back of another strong charge from Burgess, Canham dived over from dummy half to take the score out to 24-0.
At this stage the game was probably out of the reach of the Woodbridge combination but they most certainly did not throw in the towel and the game continued to provide great viewing action for the good crowd in attendance
Castlereagh again scored through a try, this time to the their fullback Maria Nagy (Lightning Ridge) with 15 minutes remaining.
Burgess once again proved to be too powerful as she powered over late in the game and, with Canham steering yet another conversion over, the Castlereagh defended a last gasp attack from Woodbridge to run out 36-0 winners.
Prior to the seniors’ game, the Woodbridge Cup Under 18’s claimed the honours, winning 30-16 with their fullback Georgia Woodhouse being a standout, scoring four tries.
Jacobson and Harland will join their Castlereagh team mates in Forbes this Saturday to play the Group 11 side in Round 2 of the WWRLC.—contributed