Undefeated champions a tag Group 10 is hoping to maintain: Christie-Johnson

TAG: Hawks rake Ella-J Harris and St Pat's gun Meredith Jones lock horns during the Western Challenge. Both are in the Group 10 league tag squad. Photo: NICK McGRATH
TAG: Hawks rake Ella-J Harris and St Pat's gun Meredith Jones lock horns during the Western Challenge. Both are in the Group 10 league tag squad. Photo: NICK McGRATH

Group 10 and Western Rams league tag titles, the two seem to go hand-in-hand.

In fact, such is the blue group’s stranglehold on the fixture, Group 10 is the only side to have won Western’s league tag crown.

The undefeated run sits at five consecutive titles after last year’s comprehensive, 30-10 win over Castlereagh-Barwon League in the final at Parkes.

As a result, you’d think new captain-coach Monique Christie-Johnson has every right to feel super confident heading into Saturday’s 2018 tournament at Bathurst as Group 10 guns for a sixth title.

She’s not, though.

In fact, she’s feeling the heat – just a touch.

“There’s definitely some pressure there,” Christie-Johnson laughed.

“As you said, it’s been a very successful side since league tag started. We’re definitely looking to continue on in that manner.”

Christie-Johnson has named a stack of experience with eight members of the Western team that progressed through to the league tag country championship semi-final last year selected for Group 10 in 2018.

The key ingredient mixed in among that group?

Speed, and plenty of it.

“When we went away with Rams last year there was speed everywhere in the other sides,” Christie-Johnson said.

“We based selections on that this year and getting through the middle of other teams.”

The Group 10 skipper knows keeping her side’s unbeaten run in tact will be a challenge.

She’s predicting the likes of Woodbridge, Group 11 and Castlereagh-Barwon to be tough outfits.

“Each group and other areas are improving every year. We’re excited to be going and playing but it’s going to be tough,” she added.

“Woodbridge Cup first up is always tough, Group 11 will be improved and last year Castlereagh was in the final. All four (competitions) are improving.

“It’s really anyone’s for the taking.”

Group 10’s first game is at 10.30am against a Woodbridge Cup outfit boasting a number of speedy players, namely incumbent Rams winger Heidi Regan.

The league tag final is scheduled to kick-off at 12.45pm.

  • GROUP 10: 1 Sophie Stammers (Blayney), 2 Amy Hewitt (Bathurst Panthers), 3 Claire Woolmington (Bathurst Panthers), 4 Bec Ford (Orange Hawks), 5 Erin Naden (Bathurst St Pat’s), 6 Mish Somers (Bathurst St Pat’s), 7 Jess Hotham (Bathurst Panthers), 8 Nicole Schneider (Bathurst Panthers), 9 Ella-J Harris (Orange Hawks), 10 Monique Christie-Johnson, 11 Meredith Jones (Bathurst St Pat’s), 12 Holly Gibson (Orange CYMS), 13 Lailee Phillips (Bathurst Panthers); 14 Harriet Messner (Mudgee Dragons), 15 Abby Stammers (Blayney), 16 Bronte Emanuel (Bathurst St Pat’s), 17 Kaitlyn Phillips (Bathurst Panthers).

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