The Jersey Flegg Cup Rabbitohs claimed an impressive win in Victoria, while the NSW Cup and Harvey Norman Women's Premiership sides were unable to claim the two competition points at North Sydney Oval.
NSW Cup Round 7: North Sydney Bears 40 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 14
In the first leg of the inaugural Mario Fenech Cup, the South Sydney Rabbitohs were defeated 40-14 against the North Sydney Bears in a match that can be described as a tale of two halves at North Sydney Oval.
Up against a Bears outfit littered with NRL talent, the young Rabbitohs kept pace with their opponents up until half-time as Richie Kennar got on the board out wide, with a late four-pointer giving the hosts a 10-4 lead.
Unfortunately, though, Norths came out firing out of the sheds with a four-try blitz in a fifteen-minute period to extend their lead by a considerable margin, with a monumental task needed in the final quarter.
While tries to Maila Chan-Foon and Shannon Gardiner saw the Red and Green win the final 20 minutes of the contest, ultimately, it wasn't enough to claim the two competition points.
For Head Coach and Head of Elite Pathways and Development, Joe O'Callaghan, it was a match that he believes his young side needs to take plenty of lessons from if they are to compete in the coming weeks.
"We just weren't good enough during the fifteen-minute block after half-time," he said.
"It was a good, tight contest and unfortunately we conceded four tries in that period. It was a bad period defensively where we were too loose with discipline.
"We’ve got a young Cup team at the moment and they need to learn that they need to keep their concentration and effort levels up if they are to play at this level for the full 80 minutes.
"It was a Bears-heavy crowd, but there was no excuse with a good atmosphere and plenty of support. It was clear to see the effort and hunger to bounce back after last week's heartbreaker and we showed that for the first 40 minutes.
"We didn't come out of the sheds at halftime with the same effort and desire they showed in the first 40, and unfortunately we didn’t go with the Bears.
"We actually won the last quarter with two tries to one, and a lot of that comes down to inexperience - you can't have periods like that against a team who featured plenty of NRL talent.
"I just want to make light of the performance of Leonard Skelton - he was a late addition with Taane Milne playing in the NRL match in what was his first game as a Rabbitoh and at NSW Cup level.
"I thought he had a strong game defensively and carried the ball well.
Harvey Norman Women's Premiership Round 11: North Sydney Bears 70 def South Sydney Rabbitohs 0
It was a tough ending to the season for the South Sydney Rabbitohs' Harvey Norman Women's Premiership side, with hosts the North Sydney Bears claiming the Minor Premiership in a canter at North Sydney Oval on Sunday afternoon.
In a marked improvement on last year's campaign, the Rabbitohs proved to be competitive throughout their 2023 season to record three wins, with four defeats determined by ten points or less.
"It shows why Norths are the favorites, they're a strong team," said O'Callaghan.
"It was a tough one out there, but as I said to the players and staff, that scoreline doesn’t reflect the season they've had. It's unfortunate it’s the last game and they bumped into an in-form and hungry Bears side that was preparing for finals, and it just showed where we’re at as a program.
"There's quite a gap between the top four and the rest of the teams in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership, and if you look at their season as a whole, they were quite competitive throughout.
"The side had three wins and four losses by just ten points or less while churning out 34 players throughout a ten-game competition, with a lot of those players playing at that level for the first time.
"As a Club, we're really proud of how they competed throughout the season and they had a massive year."
Jersey Flegg Cup Round 7: South Sydney Rabbitohs 21 def Melbourne Storm 14
The South Sydney Rabbitohs have continued their strong form in the Jersey Flegg Cup with a 21-14 defeat of the Melbourne Storm down in Victoria at Comely Banks Recreation Reserve on Saturday afternoon.
Centre Josiah Karapani found himself with two tries to his name as the Red and Green ground out a seven-point victory that finds themselves in fifth position on the ladder after seven weeks.
Liam Blanc got on the board for a 14-6 lead at the break, while halfback Joseph Nohra iced off the match with a try of his own and a field goal in the dying stages in an impressive outing for the Cardinal and Myrtle.
What made the victory even more impressive for O'Callaghan, however, was the efforts from the backline following two late omissions in the forward pack prior to the match.
"It was a real hit-and-run mission for the Flegg team this week," he explained.
"It’s a hard day trip any time you go down to Melbourne and can be quite a difficult trip that they handled it really well.
"They were quite undermanned in the forwards, especially with Jaxson Rahme elevated to NSW Cup and with Isaiah Vaialolo and Louis Grossemy late omissions.
"It was a great all-round effort to get the job done, and I want to highlight the effort from the backline who worked hard all game against a physical team. With a depleted back they rolled their sleeves up and helped carry the side to victory."
With the conclusion of the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership season, the NSW Cup and Jersey Flegg Cup competitions will continue in alignment with the NRL against the Penrith Panthers this weekend:
Prior to the NRL match, the NSW Cup side will take the field against the Panthers at Accor Stadium on Thursday night at 5:25pm in a doubleheader.
Members and supporters will also get their local league fix on Saturday afternoon when the Jersey Flegg Cup side faces Penrith at Redfern Oval at 1:00pm with free entry.
"It's a great opportunity for Members and supporters to get to two pathways matches this weekend," O'Callaghan said.
"The boys will need all the support they can get, with the NSW Cup side having just a four-day turnaround which will be a tough task against a talented Penrith outfit.
"The Flegg side will do the same against the Panthers at Redfern Oval, and I encourage everyone to cheer on the boys. It will be free entry, and we're anticipating a great day out."