SWAN Suburbs, Perth’s newest women’s rugby team, hosted the Eastern Derby at its Farrall Road headquarters against the Kalamunda Bulls on Saturday.
The newbies to the competition were outclassed by the senior club and eventually went down 36-0.
For the first 20 minutes, Swanies’ defensive line speed held the visitors scoreless.
Strong runs from Kala prop Raewyn Tuheke got them back to a north/south game and a couple of tries before half-time.
Kala’s WA representative Michela Anderson dotted down for a welcome return from injury in time for the finals.
After the break, more straight running from Tuheke and the Kala tight five, and some judicious chips into the space behind Swanies’ rush defence opened the gates for another Bulls victory .
Kalamunda coach Ani (Mav) Nopera said: “Full credit to Swanies for another full 60-minute game.”
For Swanies, Odette Brett gave her best performance of the season and Sheena King continued her good form. For Kala, Raewyn Tuheke was outstanding and with Arianna Carnachan, the Bulls boast the form props in the competition.
Top point-scorer and try-scorer of the competition, Turiti-Kapuarei Galiki looked dangerous every time she held the ball.
The match-up contest of the day was between opposing number eights, and captains, Neesha Barrett and Rebecca Voice.
Next weekend the focus goes international and the Olympics Women’s Sevens Rugby event. The Australian “Opals” are fancied gold medallists and play on days 2-4, while the men play on days 5-7 of the schedule.
Since the announcement of Sevens Rugby in the Olympics four years ago, it is estimated participation in women’s rugby has increased from 200 thousand to two million world-wide.
The Australian Rugby Union now has pathways, competition and sponsorship to support the growth.
WA Rugby has elite development squads in place and Debby Carly (nee Hodgkinson) was recently appointed head coach of the Western Force Women’s Sevens team.
The Kalamunda club has been involved in the development of three local players to international level with the Wallaroos.
Two of these, Madeline Putz-Skiba and Venisia Taufa are in the present squad to play New Zealand in a Bledisloe Cup opener at Eden Park in October.
They will also take part in the Women’s World Cup in Ireland in 2017.
Swan Suburbs take the long view and have girls in the U14s and U17s girls sevens competition, with players also competing in the U15 state trials for touch rugby.
Although the elite pathways are in place, participation in suburban rugby competitions overwhelmingly remains for players looking to have fun with their mates in a supportive team environment.