The St.George Queensland Reds have fallen 13-10 in a nail-biting encounter against the Waratahs at Ballymore in Round 4 of Buildcorp Super W.
With the scores locked at 10-all with ten-minutes to play, an Arabella McKenzie penalty kicked the visiting side to a three-point lead, and they were able to keep the Queensland side out in the final minutes to secure their fifth-straight win over the Reds.
Inside-centre Hagiga Mosby made her Queensland debut in the loss, while Shannon Mato crossed the line for the Reds’ only try of the afternoon in what was a bruising and physical affair.
Head coach Moana Virtue said: “The Waratahs deserved their win today, they put us under a lot of pressure in set piece and with their line speed.
“We were a bit slow to get into the game at the start, but managed to stay in the fight for the full 80 minutes.
“We had a few opportunities that we didn’t capitalise on and were just a step behind in support or threw a wayward pass. We really need to work harder to execute under pressure.
“But it was your typical Queensland vs NSW game, tough and down to the wire.”
A 60-metre runaway try to Emily Chancellor gave the hosts an early advantage at Ballymore, before Queensland responded with a try of their own to take their first lead of the match.
Mato was the scorer, the backrower burrowing her way through the defence after a build-up of 21 phases on the NSW line. Lori Cramer added the extras to put the score out to 7-5 after the opening 15 minutes of play.
Waratahs centre Shanice Parker was shown a yellow-card for a high tackle on Courtney Hodder in the 26th minute but Queensland failed to capitalise, as the visitors continued to attack within the home side’s half.
Stubborn Reds defence kept a surging NSW outfit from scoring their second try in the remaining minutes of the opening forty, as the hosts headed to the sheds with a slim two-point lead.
Queensland dominated field position and possession in the opening stages of the second stanza but were unable to turn pressure into points, with NSW winger Maya Stewart eventually breaking the stalemate to score the first try of the second-half and put her side back into the lead at 10-7 in the 57th minute.
Cramer evened the scores with a penalty in the 65th minute, before McKenzie kicked the visitors back into the lead with a penalty of her own to put NSW ahead 13-10 with ten minutes to play.
McKenzie’s penalty would be the last points of the game, as the visitors held their nerve to keep Queensland from cracking their defence and secure a three-point win.
“We head to Canberra next week to face the Brumbies and it’s important that we regroup and learn from today, because we’re up for another tough battle,” Virtue said.
The Reds will travel to Canberra next week to take on the Brumbies on Sunday, March 15, in the fifth and final round of regular season fixtures.