This weekend will see the Canterbury Bulldogs take on the Penrith Panthers in the first ever Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final.
This is the first year that the Bulldogs have entered a side in the girls under 18’s, nine-a-side Sydney competition.
The Bulldogs advanced to the final following a four-point win over the Cronulla Sharks in the preliminary final, where Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa’amausili scored a hat-trick.
In the final quarter leading by 18 points and missing the season’s top try-score Page McGregor, the girls came up with some big plays in the dying moments, to record a 32-28 win and book a spot in the 2017 Grand Final.
In a season that saw the opening game of the year cancelled due to the extreme weather in Sydney, followed by a defeat to the Illawarra Steelers in Round two, the Bulldogs Tarsha Gale Cup side has gone on to register seven straight wins, including a forfeit against the Wests Tigers in Round nine.
“After the early loss in the season, the girls have been the most consistent team in both attack and defence. Their ability to defend their try-line, set after set, has been the cornerstone to their success in the competition,” said Pathways Performance Manager Andy Patmore.
“The skill development over the course of the season has improved out of sight which has resulted in some good footy tries, by shifting the ball to the edges and using their speed to create space and opportunities,” Patmore said.
The final will see the girls head to Leichardt Oval on Saturday 6th May to do battle with the Penrith Panthers. The Bulldogs finished as minor premiers at the end of the regular season, while the Panthers finished outside the top four, in fifth place.
The two teams met earlier in the year in Round four and it was a convincing 40-10 win for the Bulldogs.
“To win last week without Page was a real boost for the side and gave the girls plenty of confidence that they have a team more than capable of taking out the premiership,” added Patmore.
“On and off the field the competition has been a huge success for the growth of women’s rugby league. It has changed the opinions of some sceptics about the skill and footy the girls can play. The girls play in a competitive manner and in the right spirit. Regardless of the result this weekend, the club is very proud of what the girls have been able to achieve and we are committed to the long term support of women’s rugby league,” said Patmore.
The inaugural Tarsha Gale Cup match will be held at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday 6th May, kicking off at 12:45pm.
1. Aaliayah Fasavalu-Faamausili
2. Terese Auvae
3. Sinead Sio
4. Tigerlily Wakim
5. Grace Li
6. Sinukula Sakiri
8. Ruth Saufoi
9. Haneen Zreika
10. Joy Tedeschi
11. Kerri Putahi
12. Tarquin Mata
13. Sydney Topine
14. Makarita Faitua
16. Pricilla Faitua
17. Tangikina Hanisi
18. Tali-Bell Smith
20. Alafou Fatu