Former Muswellbrook Ramette Brydie Parker wins NSW Harvey Norman Women's Premiership with Central Coast Roosters

Local star shines on big stage

THE minor premiers became grand final winners as the Central Coast Roosters claimed the NSW Harvey Norman Women's Premiership title - and defeated the resilient North Sydney Bears 16-10 at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

An encounter that boasted a roster of superstars in the women's game, including former Ramette Brydie Parker, the competition was fierce and raring to go right from the opening whistle.

The ex-Muswellbrook High School student, who won a rugby sevens gold medal at the 2017 Youth Commonwealth Games, and her centre partner Jayme Fressard have arguably been the Roosters most potent attacking weapons in the outside backs.

And, Parker's representation in the decider was all the more special given she was the first player to be part of the NSWRL Talent ID Day and play in an NRLW grand final.

But, it was Central Coast five-eighth Bobbi Law who crash-tackled Bears hooker Lacey Shields to surge in between the posts for try number one, successfully followed through with a conversion by herself.

At the 14th minute, winger Claire Reed saw an open gap on her right edge and charged through to score the Roosters second of the day to put them up 10-0.

NSW representative star Shontelle Stowers broke the dead-lock for the Bears in the 20th minute of the match to bring her side up four points.

Reed posted a double to wrap up the first half action but another missed conversion by Law meant the Roosters were only up 14-4, which wasn't a confident lead against North Sydney, considering their extreme improvement in recent weeks.

That lead got tighter 10 minutes after the break when Moniqca Mo'Ale scored for the Bears, combined with a successful conversion off the boot of Chloe Leaupepe, to make it 14-10.

Leaupepe was down soon after, with a leg injury, that forced the game to pause for five minutes but neither side allowed each other to score before the quarter-time bell rung.

Double tryscorer for the Roosters, Reed also went down with a leg injury with 13 minutes to go that forced her out of the match.

However, Central Coast kept its composure and didn't let the loss of one of their stars distract their play.

A back and forth battle of defence and chase happened until the very last minute when the Roosters were awarded a penalty, which took them to the final siren and added an extra two points to their score, off the kick of halfback Melanie Howard.

Ending the fixture with only a converted try difference at 16-10, the Roosters captain Isabelle Kelly, teammates Melanie Howard and Kylie Hilder - whose husband Troy coached the Muswellbrook Rams in 2018 - celebrated and added back-to-back titles to their resume after competing in the CRL Newcastle team in 2019.

Although the win was not theirs, North Sydney did the foundation club proud after making it to the Bears' first grand final appearance in 27 years.

  • with Rod Thompson