The word best associated with the current Monaro Colts Open Women's team is 'gritty'.
Despite the lapses in concentration and skill errors which have dogged both of their games so far, the Colts found ways to win.
With eight Yass locals named in the team, the Colts won their second match of the 2020 Country Championships against Riverina on Sunday, March 15, 14-8. This followed a first round victory over the Central Coast Roosters, 14-0 on Saturday, March 7.
Both clashes had a lot in common. Monaro dominated the first half of both, struggled in the second half of both, and the team compensated for skill errors with some sterling defence in both.
"We probably had one of our best halves of footy, including the trials and previous round game, and then our second half is probably something that some of us would like to forget," head coach Josh Hardy said of Sunday's game in Leeton.
"But we got the points, so that's the most important thing."
The Colts got off to a bright start with a try in the seventh minute to winger Annelise Hughes, which was set up by some excellent work from Hollie Massey at five-eighth.
Less than three minutes later, Massey herself crossed after displaying light-footedness and dummies which would make Jarryd Hayne envious.
Riverina soon responded with a try of their own, but Monaro still held a commanding 12-4 lead at half time.
The second half, Hardy said, was riddled with the same errors which made life difficult for Monaro in round one.
"The second half unfortunately was a bit like last week, we continued to turn the ball over and made it really hard for ourselves," he said.
"I can't fault the girls' effort ... they really had to tackle their backsides off and all 17 players dug deep in that second half and we snuck away with a victory.
"It was a gritty performance and one that I was pleased by."
Despite a poorer second half, Monaro limited the damage and maintained a six point lead by the final whistle.
Massey was joined on field by fellow Magpies players Victoria Alley, Eilish Winbank, Shannon Wright, Sami Afele, Gabby Davis, Jess Howard, and Lucy Prosser.
Though this was Riverina's second loss in the tournament, Hardy knows they were still not to be underestimated.
The Colts, he said, will take confidence out of the win, and it has left the experienced coach feeling positive about the direction of the women's game.
"If you look at last year's performances there were a few blowout scores and a few standout teams that were above the rest," Hardy said.
"It's really seemed to even out over the last 12 months ... It's really pleasing to see the girl's game kicking off."
Monaro's victory over Riverina guarantees the Colts a finals position, which will begin in two weeks on the weekend of March 28.
No draw has been released as yet, but Hardy is confident the Colts can "we can beat anyone in the comp if we really want to".
"It's just a matter of taking each game as it comes, seeing who we play, really ripping in and wanting a good result on the day."
Until the finals come around, Hardy and the Monaro side will focus on perfecting the one-percenters which have let them down so far in the tournament.
"We'll just work on little things we need to work on," Hardy said.
"We're not too worried about who we play or where we play, if we just focus on ourselves and doing the little things right ... it's just a matter of getting that 60-minute performance in and backing our ability."
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