Anybody who says that women’s rugby is less exciting than men’s did not see the clash between Yass and Goulburn on Friday night.
In a match between the first- and second-ranked sides on the Katrina Fanning Shield ladder (Yass and Goulburn respectively), it was always going to come down to a nail-biting finish, and indeed the two finals favourites didn’t disappoint.
As they fought to a 10-10 draw, both coaches could be heard describing the game as a thriller and one of the best matches of the year.
It began quietly, with each side wrestling for momentum and possession, before a breakthrough on Goulburn’s right wing saw Yass cross first to go up 4 points to nil.
The lead didn’t last long, though, before Goulburn replied with a typically hard-earned try, which was converted to put the home side ahead 6-4 at the break.
Soon after half time, the Magpies took advantage of a missed tackle for a length-of-the-field try.
This put the visitors up 6-10, but before long Goulburn broke through with another four-pointer of their own to level the scores.
Despite a series of close calls and a penalty gone begging from Goulburn, neither team were able to break the draw before time was up.
Magpies fullback Paremo Marsh was named Players’ Player for the visitors, and said that they expected an onslaught from Goulburn coming into the match.
“It was really physical, Goulburn really brought it to us and I feel like we took it to them as well,” she said.
“It was really evenly matched throughout the game.”
Marsh made special mention of the defensive effort from both teams, which saw a number of potential tries repeatedly stuffed just in front of the line.
“Just defensively, I think both sides were giving it to each other,” she said.
“Solid defence, solid attack, I think they’ve got quite a few good ball players. Jennaya [Ottaway] there, you’ve gotta watch her on her offloads and her kicks.
“We held it well together, I was proud of our girls. Next time we’ll be pulling through the win, hopefully.”
Goulburn coach John Sykes praised both teams for an outstanding game.
“I thought it was a really tough game,” Sykes said.
“I thought they both stuck it to each other and they’re evenly matched. When crunch times come, it’s just gonna be who can outsmart the other. That’s what it’s going to be.”
Despite his confidence that Goulburn were the better side before the match, Sykes admitted that Yass had improved from the pair’s first match earlier in the year.
“Their defence is very good, they work very well off the line together, they work as a unit,” he said.