A 48th minute try to Michelle Somers has sealed Western Rams spot in round two of the 2017 league tag Country Championships, defeating Monaro in a thriller at Cowra on Saturday.
Locked at 14-14 with five minutes remaining at Sid Kallas Oval, Somers evaded some tiring Monaro left edge defence to score the winning try, a result which books their spot in round two against Riverina at West Wyalong next Saturday.
While Somers was a standout, Western coach Mick Armstrong praised the performances of the girls who worked tirelessly in the middle of the park.
He identified Demi Wilson, Emma Gallagher, Ell-J Harris and Lauren Sullivan as outstanding.
Armstong said his side was at its best during the early stages of each 25 minute half.
“We were a bit patchy in stages but I thought our first 15 minutes of the match was outstanding the last 10 minutes of the half we kind of let them back in and same in the second-half our first 15 minutes was really good but a few lapses in concentration allowed them back in again,” he said.
Despite the Rams never trailing the match, it was a pulsating 50 minute contest as Monaro never gave up hope of clinching a lead.
Rams fullback Sophie Stammers scored the game’s opening points latching onto a nice grubber from Rebecca Ford in the 10th minute.
Western threatened to extend the lead soon after but Monaro’s defence held firm, then the visitors took advantage of some favorable territory leveling with a try to Michaela Leonard on the halftime siren.
Tries to Western’s Claire Woolmington and Rebecca Ford, and a goal to Somers, inside the opening 10 minutes of the second-half shot the Rams to an eight point lead.
Monaro’s determination didn’t fade, with two tries to centre Jessica Goss and a goal to Emma Jones taking the score to 14-14 with five minutes remaining.
A knock on from the restart gifted Rams an opportunity and Somers took the invitation ensuring Western progresses to round two in this year’s league tag Country Championships.
Armstrong said he had placed an emphasis on gaining the momentum early.
“I said we have to start fast. In this competition you have to play fast because every team obviously is a quality team so if you play fast you get the momentum. It’s very hard to get the momentum back once the other side has it,” Armstrong said.
Western now meets Riverina in round two of the league tag Country Championships at West Wyalong next Saturday.
WESTERN RAMS 18 (Sophie Stammers, Claire Woolmington, Rebecca Ford, Michelle Somers tries; Michelle Somers goal) def MONARO 14 (Jessica Goss 2, Michaela Leonard tries; Emma James goal).