In a game that represents so much more than just a game, the Maori Women were far too strong for their Indigenous counterparts in the annual Women’s All Stars game.
Ruthless from the beginning, the Maori side controlled every aspect of the game and deservedly won 24-0.
They were led by experienced players in Raecene McGregor, Corban McGregor, and Zahara Temara, the Maori now lead 2-1 in the head-to-head contests.
The win was made even more impressive given the Maori side could not field their Kiwi-based players due to the ongoing COVID restrictions.
The platform for the win was led by solid performances from Rona Peters and Mya Hill-Moana, allowing McGregor and Temara to do the rest.
Ultimately, errors let down the Indigenous side, as they were unable to handle the staunch and brutish defence from the Maori side.
The scoring started early after just three minutes, when Temara’s grubber ricocheted off the upright and away from Jaime Chapman, with McGregor there to pounce.
Amy Turner got her name on the scoresheet when she finished off a back-line play. Temara again provided the assist.
The highlight in the leadup, however, was a lovely behind-the-back offload from Crystal Tamarua.
Up 12-0 after 11 minutes, it only got worse just before the half-time break for the Indigenous side when Shanice Parker scored.
Parker took the quick tap off the back of a penalty, brushed off several defenders and planted the ball down to score.
The Indigenous side played their hearts out but the defence of the Maori side remained resolute and an error saw them score again.
It was Page McGregor who finished off a slick backline play, with the Maori side having too many numbers out wide in the end.
The fifth and final try for the Maori side was McGregor’s double, as she swatted away defenders and bustled over to score.
McGregor would not finish the game, though, leaving the field due to a neck injury.
Maori captain Corban McGregor said the club made it their goal to keep their momentum going in the second half.
“It was super important and we used that exact term after the second try, let’s keep the foot on the throat and keep leading and pushing as hard as we can,” said McGregor.
“I had a taste of this game last year and we didn’t come out on top so there was fire in the belly to get the win tonight.”
Indigenous captain Tallisha Harden admits that the side was disappointed but knows they can use this as fuel to become better players.
“The emotion at the end, a lot of them are pretty heartbroken,” Harden said.
“It’s tough when you lose but we’ll bounce back and I’m really excited to see what the girls do next and their pathway for the rest of the year.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Raecene McGregor
2. Rona Peters
1. Zahara Temara