MID North Coast Tomahawks bounced back from some first-game jitters to finish third at the State 7s Championships.
The Tomahawks were no match for a classy, well-drilled Pride side, based in Sydney, falling to a comprehensive 36-0 defeat.
It wasn’t the ideal start to the tournament, especially when you consider the girls were in their off-season.
Coach Paddy Bowen wasn’t too disheartened by the lopsided scoreline.
“That Pride team is a club that is a breeding ground for seven’s down there,” he said.
From that point on, the Tomahawks became more comfortable with Bowen’s structures and the results spoke for themselves.
The only other loss the Mid North Coast suffered was a heartbreaking 12-10 defeat to eventual champions Randwick.
“It was a pretty good effort from all the girls when you consider they’ve come from five different clubs around the zone,” Bowen said.
“We aimed for a podium finish before we headed down there and we were the only country team to beat any Sydney teams.
“The girls all gelled pretty well after the first game and Emma Gillogly played really well.
“I was really happy with how the girls performed.”
Gillogly was well supported by Coffs Harbour’s Greta Smith who “scored a bucket load of tries.”
“Kaitlyn Leany was awarded the player of the tournament, while Lauren Linton and Jamie Cone both played very well,” Bowen said.
“Jamie played pretty much every minute of every game.”
Cone’s Thunder teammates Chloe Saunders, Shai Bower and Stephanie Ostler all made the trip to Narrabeen.
The Tomahawks defeated Hunters Hill 17-0, before they backed that performance up with a 33-5 win over Hornsby and a 19-10 victory over Manly.
Bowen’s success with the girls came fresh off the back of a successful coaching stint with the University of New England in the AON University Series.
“We had a really good mix of players from all over our zone, with some speed out wide and muscle through the middle,” he said.
“I was impressed with how well the girls bounced back from the first defeat to finish third out of the six women’s teams.
“We’re happy with the performance.”
A successful Olympic campaign has seen the sport grow among female players, and is booming on the Mid North Coast.
The Tomahawks are about to commence summer training for the 15-a-side game under women’s rugby guru Steve Lee.
With strong numbers, they will be looking for a podium finish at Country Championships next year.
They were also accompanied by the under 17 Tomahawks which is the first time the two teams will play at the same competition together.