The Glen Innes Magpies women made a stellar Group 19 nines debut with the squad finishing the tournament as undefeated champions.
The Magpies team entered the tournament with a mix of experienced players and newcomers to tackle rugby league and finished with six wins from their six games.
In Saturday’s final, they faced last year’s unbeaten champions, the Boomerangs and won 18-4.
Glen Innes captain Amelia Tunamena was “stoked” with winning the competition and said experience combined with every player stepping up, helped them claim the feat.
“I think the whole team gelling and then it just came down to experience,” she said.
“Any final game, no matter what it is, is always going to be a final game and Glen Innes has had a lot of experience in playing finals and being in pressure situations like that.
“Everyone pulled their own weight and did the one percenters, everyone did their job basically.
“In the spirit of finals, we could have gone there and got absolutely flogged but everyone stepped up and played what was in front of us, we didn't force things which was great and everything went our way.
“We knew that if we could hold our defence and stop tries from getting in then our tries would come off the back of them.
“Courtney Watts scored off the back of a drop ball from the Boomies that just came loose in a good tackle but I grabbed it and passed it to them and there it came.”
This year’s tournament is only the third women’s nines competition the region has seen.
Each year it has grown with more teams and more players signing up.
Tunamena believes the tackle version of the sport has a definite place in Country Rugby League competitions.
“Definitely. Absolutely. 100 per cent,” she said.
“Just things like this are going to snowball year after year and come 10 years, league tag might not even be an option anymore.
“I am very happy with it, I think the girls are happy with it.
“We have already had a few chats about doing the sevens again if the Elks get a side.
“We are looking at travelling a bit more and doing our sport.”
The tournament also acted as a trial for the Group 19 representative squad.
Off the back of their success, six players from Glen Innes – Sarah Byrne, Breanna Grange, Courtney Watts, Emily McMeniman, Alisa and Amelia Tunamena – were chosen.
The squad will train and be cut to 19 for next year’s Greater Northern Championships against Group 21, who are in the middle of their nines competition, and Group 4, who start in two weeks, with the date to be confirmed.
Simone Blacklock, Lawanna Brown, Sharmarla Duncan, Deb McGrady, Shirley Swan, Carly Walton, Chokita Brown, Molly Kennedy, Sarah Hamilton, Nicola Robinson, Skye Gordon-Briggs, Brooke Kingdom, Amarlia Ahoy, Jess Widders, Taneika Landsborough, Britt Youman, Amy Barraclough, Robyn Broadbent, Katelyn Smith, Alyce Walsh, Vicki Youman, Brooke O’Halloran, Sarah Byrne, Breanna Grange, Emily McMeniman, Amelia Tunamena, Alisa Tunamena, Courtney Watts.