AKW Jets are in the box seat to claim their fourth women’s premier grade title in a row after stunning minor premiers Young Guns in their major semi final on Tuesday night and booking another grand final berth.
The Jets were off the boil during the regular season, winning just four of their nine fixtures, but their knockout experience and the fleet feet of Sophie Crouch came to the fore in the finals cauldron.
Crouch was untouchable down the left flank, scoring four tries in a blistering display while Cathy Salmon, Vienna Randal and Leila Miles also found the whitewash in a victory built largely off their second half form.
Young Guns were the better side in the opening half with Ellen McIntyre slicing apart the Jets defence for an early lead.
McIntyre would go on to finish with four tries of her own but it wasn’t enough as Young Guns’ attack crumbled under the weight of Jets’ improved second half defensive effort.
With the scores precariously balanced at 4-3 in Young Guns’ favour, Crouch scored a rapid brace to pinch the lead and not even Abbey Corbett’s sending off could stop the flow of points from Jets.
Young Guns had their chances at the death but fell foul of poor decision making and forced passes.
It's not over for Mark Wade’s side, who must now pick themselves up and prepare for a preliminary final clash with Farmers Home Hotel, who saw off a dogged Don Tuckwell’s Audio side 7-3 in the minor semi final.
Rachael Addison was a standout for Farmers, scoring two tries in a typically composed performance, while Tamayar Hinch kept Tuckies on the back foot with a string of darting runs.
Meanwhile, The Casuals have one hand on the men’s premier grade title after smashing Quolls 11-6 in a lop-sided major semi final.
The minor premiers and last year’s beaten grand finalists were a class above their spotted rivals, running in seven tries in the first half to take a three-point buffer at oranges.
Quolls did their best to stem the bleeding and restricted The Casuals to just four tries in the second term but a misfiring attack could only find the chalk three more times.
The result condemns Quolls to a preliminary final showdown with Advanced Communications Cobras, who only just slipped past Rock Solid Gear Wizards 7-6 in the minor semi final.
A Lachie Harper brace had Wizards in prime position to knock Cobras out of title contention but Andrew Baggio’s men showed just enough composure to set a one-point buffer and hold on.