The South Sydney Rabbitohs Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership have produced a dominant 42-6 win against Penrith Brothers in torrential conditions at Mascot Oval.
It was a forward-oriented performance from the Red and Green, with the likes of Monicqa Mo’ale, Rhianna Sutherland and Kyara Nean dominating the middle of the field, and returning five-eighth Lavina O’Mealey steering the side in her first match since coming out of retirement.
A huge hit from second rower Litisha Boney began a strong defensive effort to begin the proceedings, lifting the side to prevent their opponents from getting past the halfway mark on the first set of the game.
Strong charges from front rower Monicqa Mo’ale soon followed, and on the ensuing set, Boney took advantage to score the first try of the match.
A towering kick from the returning O’Mealey then forced a drop-out, with the five-eighth combining with Eloise Vunakece to put Tayla Pilley over to score just minutes later.
A nightmare kick-off from Penrith saw the Red and Green drop-out, but strong defence prevented their opponents from going over.
The forwards continued to dominate the match, with Kyara Nean forcing a mistake from Penrith with a brutal hit just as they looked to take advantage of their possession.
More errors from Penrith gave more opportunities for the Rabbitohs, and soon it was Nean who crossed under the posts untouched after a frantic set.
Another mistake from the kick-off gave Brothers a chance to strike back, but once again the defensive pressure from the Red and Green prevented any points from being conceded.
O’Mealey continued to lead the side, orchestrating the attack and laying on pinpoint kicks to pin the defence in their own territory.
Another bone-rattling hit - this time courtesy of Kandy Kennedy - gave the Rabbitohs the perfect chance to lay on their fourth try of the match, thanks to Rhianna Sutherland - completing a dominant first half from the Cardinal and Myrtle.
A number of errors cruelled the side in the opening minutes of the second stanza, with a number of mistakes from kicks giving Penrith a weight of possession, which then saw them cross for the first try of the match to winger Regina Lui Toso.
But the Rabbitohs wouldn’t be down for much longer, with Sutherland crossing for her second try through a signature charge.
It wasn’t long before the Rabbitohs crossed again, with Penrith’s kick-off not going the required ten metres, with O’Mealey sending Vunakece over for her own four-pointer.
The points continued for the Red and Green after a short arm-wrestle, with a break from Karri Doyle setting up Bryanna Murray to score the side’s seventh try, and Vunakece crashing over for her double soon after to round off a great victory.
The returning Lavina O’Mealey said while it took her a while to get into the contest, it was a strong victory and also explained why she returned to the game after retiring at the end of last season.
"I was struggling a little bit and needed to get some air in the lungs but I loved every minutes of it,” she laughed.
“This team is a young group and very eager to learn which makes my job easier to lead and I’m enjoying every minute of it. They’ll be a force to be reckoned with for the next decade I think.
“I watched a few games and my little ones and they wanted me to come back, plus I was missing it a lot too. I had a chat with Danny, I made the decision at Round 2 and wanted to see if the girls needed me. I felt like I couldn’t sit down and watch from the sidelines. I want to guide them."
Head Coach Danny Allende said he was pleased for his side to get a win after a couple of close losses, and praised their composure in what was a tough contest.
“It was good to get back into the winners circle, and the girls trained well this week,” he said.
“The forwards have been leading the way for us, we’re happy with how they’re going and a lot are new to this competition so they’re doing very well.
“You could see straight away everyone was calm with Lavina back and everyone knows their roles. She tells everyone where to go and what to do which makes life a little easier for us.
“It was a stop-start game and I was happy with how the girls brought control.There weren’t many mistakes."
South Sydney Rabbitohs 42 (Rhianna Sutherland 2, Eloise Vunakece 2, Litisha Boney, Tayla Pilley, Kyara Nean, Bryanna Murray tries; Akira Kelly 5 goals)
Penrith Brothers 4 (Regina Lui Toso tries; goals)