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The Super W has now passed the half-way mark.
Last weekend was big, with the Western Force jagging their first win of the season with a win over the Rebels in a pretty scrappy game. The Tahs finally got a win over the Fijiana Drua and the Reds kept their unbeaten run intact with a tough win over the Brumbies.
This week sees the Brumbies and Rebels match up to try and get their first win of the season. Then there is the old rivalry of the Tahs v Reds, both unbeaten. With the Fijiana Drua experiencing their first loss, the Force can expect a fired up Fiji side.
As expected the top three teams are NSW, Queensland and the Fijiana Drua who will battle out for the 2023 title.
This season has seen an improvement in the standard of the Super W competition. Importantly the Fijiana Drua have been able to play two games in Fiji too. For the teams outside the top three the biggest issue is their depth.
The Brumbies seem to have really lifted this season, noting Scott Fava has also taken over the coaching. In the first round they went down to Fijiana 12-7 in Fiji. Then a close 24-13 loss to the Tahs who scored a converted try in the last 5 mins. Last week it was a 20-10 loss to the Reds. The Brumbies have a strong forward pack especially with Grace Kemp. It is their backline which is the weakness.
The Fijiana Drua have not been quite as dominant as last year but that is probably due to the number of changes in the squad. Fortunately there is a depth of rugby talent in Fiji.
The Western Force are putting in the effort. Despite the score against the Tahs 43-0, it was not reflective of the game and they improved against Queensland before falling 29-14. Then against the Rebels they got their win 13-5.
The Reds did not have the season they would have liked in 2022. This year they seem to have turned things around. This weekend it is the Tahs and the following weekend against the Fijiana Drua which will confirm the turn around. Their forward pack led by Shannon Parry is strong and their backs are combining well. The 13 Briana Dascombe scored two tries on the weekend and looks to be a quality player. She is combining well with Wallaroo Cecilia Smith. The Reds have a couple of developing fly halves in Carys Dallinger and Renae Nona, both just need to get experience.
In some ways, the surprise packet has been the Waratahs. With Lori Cramer, Emily Chancellor, Kaitlyn Leaney, Arabella McKenzie in the UK, Sera Naiqama having a stint in the NZ Aupiki competition it would not have been a surprise if the Tahs may have been less dominant this year. That has not been the case. Naturally NSW has the largest number of players but credit to the coaching staff who have developed the new names who have really taken their opportunity.
For example, 20 year old lock Rosie Ebbage, from the Gordon club, has started every game, Fi Jones at 30 years old has been sensational at open side and has taken her opportunity. In many ways a shining light has been the backline which has clicked.
This season half back Layne Morgan, who last year came off the bench, has been given the starting reins and has combined well with new fly half Ella Ryan. Much has already been said about 16 year old Caitlyn Halse – she is just an unbelievably confident and smart footy player.
Maya Stewart on the wing, who has come back from an ACL injury, is deceptively fast and while not a big player is also deceptively strong. Combine this with the experience of Katrina Barker and Georgina Friedrichs in the centres and you have a very good back line. Lastly the Tahs have a very good bench, whoever comes on in the backline fits in seamlessly.
So if you get the opportunity, do yourself a favour and check out the Tahs versus Reds game.