Redfern All Black Women Clinch Minor Premiership
The Redfern All Blacks Women's Team has claimed the minor Premiership in the Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership after defeating the Mounties by a stunning 72-18 margin.
Winning 10 matches and losing one, the Redfern All Blacks Women's Team managed to out pace Glenmore Park and the Mounties by two points to claim the minor Premiership on Saturday 19 August.
Versatile playmaker Lavina O'Mealey, who also plays for the NSW Women's Team and the Women's NRL Indigenous All Stars, described the euphoria when the final whistle blew and her team was named minor Premiers.
"For a lot of us girls it was surreal because we haven't done it before, we've been in this competition for around 10 years now. The girls were celebrating, we had five or ten minutes of hugging each other and celebrating but we know we want the big one at the end of the year," said O'Mealey.
Nakia Davis-Walsh, also a NSW Women's and NRL Indigenous representative, has been a stand out for the Redfern All Blacks Women, topping the try scorer leader board with 19 - her nearest competitors all sitting on 12 tries over the season. In Round 12 she completed a first-half hat-trick on her way to a five-try haul against the Greenacre Tigers.
Head Coach Danny Allende believes it's a huge achievement for the team when you consider the priorities they juggle as unpaid athletes.
"For the girls it's a combination of all the hard work, the pre-season work, and it's a long season to be putting that all together. Some of these girls work, have kids, have got so many different commitments and to be able to pull that all together and become minor Premiers is amazing," said Coach Danny Allende.
However, the team aren't getting carried away with their achievement, getting stuck back into training at Alexandria Park and focusing on their upcoming finals matches. As minor Premiers the All Blacks will get two opportunities to qualify for the grand final. Their first match will be played on Saturday 9 September against the winner of this Saturday's elimination final.
"They get a second bite of the cherry and that's what we set out to achieve at the start of the year. We'll have that week off, have two bites of the cherry and hopefully we're one win away from a grand final," said Allende.
"My grandfather played for Redfern All Blacks back in the 50s and I grew up in Redfern, I spent a lot of time out at La Perouse but Redfern and the community has been part of my life, and to be a small part of their history has always been a privilege. To coach the girls has been incredible, these girls are actually creating their own history now."
O'Mealey recognises the important link between sport and community and does her part to give back to the local community by mentoring underprivileged Indigenous youths.
"We have a huge following in and around training and at the games. There are a lot of young girls out there that look up to us so really up to us to be the best that we can be for those young girls," said O'Mealey.