IT’S a well-worn cliché, but rugby league was definitely the winner at Olympic Park, Muswellbrook, on Friday night. And, the grand final of the inaugural Hunter Valley Group 21 CRL 9’s women’s competition lived up to all expectations. With the hosts Muswellbrook Rams enjoying a slim 6-4 lead, in front of a big crowd, Tyler Kersley snared the match-winning try in the last 60 seconds. Holly Fisher-Webster put the icing on the cake, at 10-6, with a successful conversion after the full-time siren. Muswellbrook could not have asked for a better start.Talented youngster Kelsey French latched onto a nice pass and displayed exceptional pace to sprint 80m to the tryline. Shae Pemberton added the extras for a 6-0 advantage.
Just before the interval, Singleton’s Maddy Sonter reduced the margin to 6-4. Both sides lifted the tempo in the second half and it appeared Muswellbrook was destined to prevail.
That is until Kersley dived over, not only to win the match but ensuring Singleton acquired the CRL 9’s crown for the first time.
Meanwhile, “incredible” is the word Phoebe Desmond uses to describe what it was like taking part in the inaugural competition. The experienced forward, who made sure Singleton entered a team, says she can’t believe it is all over.
“Seeing not only my team but all the teams in the Group 21 competition grow from week one to week six was fantastic,” she explains. “I never expected it to be easy but I also never thought it would be as tough as it was so I was in my element.”
Although she is disappointed about what happened after the historic win. “We did get a big group photo but there was no presentation or announcement saying we had won,” the passionate league player explains. “Not that it matters but it does at the same time.”