Rabbitohs Women complete emphatic victory on Mother's Day

The South Sydney Rabbitohs Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side have come away with a nail-biting 16-14 win over the Wenworthville Magpies at Ringrose Park on Mother's Day.

In a see-sawing affair, the Red and Green completed an incredible victory, clawing back from a two-point deficit twice in the final ten minutes as well as having a player sent to the sin bin in what was an eventful second half. 

In a typically tough grind, the match began with both sides looking to gain the ascendency with fast line speed in defence and strong carries with the ball.

But it was the Rabbitohs who would strike first, courtesy to captain Rebecca Riley diving over from dummy half close to the line. The conversion from five-eighth Candice Clay then gave the side an early 6-nil advantage after eight minutes. 

However, Wentworthville would return fire in quick succession, scoring two tries in the span of three minutes to take a two-point lead with both conversions missed. 

And they looked to strike again as their halfback broke the line, but thanks to a try-saving tackle from fullback Karri Doyle, followed by some desperate defence, Wentworthville would eventually lose possession from a dropped ball.

The Red and Green would do themselves no favours though, with poor handling and ill-discipline handing their opponents more chances to continue their lead.

Returning veteran Lavina O'Mealey looked to spark her side with a show and go five minutes from the break, and although Wentworthville gave the side another six tackles after kicking away a loose ball, cohesion was lacking as the Cardinal and Myrtle failed to convert their opportunities. 

With less than a minute to go, a penalty in the ruck gave the home side a chance to strike again, but the determined defence of the Rabbitohs Women prevented any more points from being scored in the half. 

It was a much more impressive start to the second stanza from the Rabbitohs, showing more intent and finesse with early kicks and running on fifth tackle.

But just as the momentum swung in their favour, fundamental mistakes cruelled the Red and Green's chances to capitalise. 

A morale-boosting forced error gave a shot in the arm for the Rabbitohs, and although captain Riley took advantage of slow markers to give her side a much-needed penalty, the referee's decision was reversed as unwarranted backchat from O'Mealey saw the pivot sent to the sin bin and Wentworthville given the ball. 

Down to twelve women and heading in the final quarter of the match, the side failed to succumb to fatigue, winning a scrum feed fed by Wentworthville and then continuing to question the defence with some decisive running. 

The determination was encompassed by a try-saving tackle from fill-in fullback Bryanna Murray, who rounded up a runaway winger to bundle her into touch in a defining moment of the match. 

With O'Mealey back on the field and with Souths on the attack, it looked more and more likely that the side would strike, and they did so as the five-eighth put Karri Doyle over to bring the lead back to the Rabbitohs with less than ten minutes to go. 

An error on the next set gave Wentworthville ammunition to score, and despite some fantastic defensive efforts, they managed to crash over on a fifth tackle raid down the right-hand side. With the conversion successful, the Magpies held a four-point lead with less than four minutes to go. 

But the never-say-die attitude of the Rabbitohs shone through the time of need, with a miraculous kick-off going out after a single bounce and giving them possession 30 metres from the line. 

And soon it was powerhouse prop Moniqca Mo'ale charging under the posts to the delight of the Red and Green faithful. With Akira Kelly's goal, the Rabbitohs then took the lead with a minute to go.

But the match wasn't without any drama, with the Rabbitohs losing the ball from the kick-off despite Jasmin Allende being tackled without the ball.

But in what can only be labelled poetic justice, the Magpies lost the ball from the scrum to hand South Sydney the ball with a minute left to seal the victory. 

 

South Sydney Rabbitohs 16 (Rebecca Riley, Karri Doyle, Moniqca Mo'ale try; Candice Clay, Akira Kelly goals) 

Wentworthville Magpies 14 (Carissa Farrugia, Denise McGrath, Montana Fonua tries, Teina Clark goal)

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