Western Women's Rugby League 2019: Wiradjuri Goannas to face Castlereagh/Barwon

DETERMINED: Wiradjuri Goannas captain Amy Townsend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

DETERMINED: Wiradjuri Goannas captain Amy Townsend. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

They were the only team to finish the regular Western Women's Rugby League season undefeated, but Wiradjuri Goannas captain Amy Townsend says none of that matters going into Sunday's semi-final.

The Goannas will be up against the fourth-placed Castlereagh/Barwon, who they beat 22-4 in a nine-a-side affair in the opening round of the competition.

But Townsend said lack of numbers had cost Castlereagh/Barwon games at times, and the Goannas couldn't afford to be "complacent" against, "physically, one of the toughest teams in the competition".

"We're not expecting an easy game," she said.


"Castlereah have got a very strong forward pack so we know that we need to go into the game and try and dominate the forwards and let our backs play off the back of that."

She said it would be "hard coming off a break" - the Goannas had the bye last weekend - "but we've just got to come out firing".

She labelled Castlereagh's lone Western Rams representative Chantel Burgess as "one of the best forwards in our competition", admitting "they've got a lot of strike power across the park".

In her own team Townsend is relying on Maggie Townsend and Cass Toomey to be strong up front, "making everyone's jobs easier".

But Toomey, Emily Catton, Britt Naden, Kayla Hasson-Williams, Taneka Todhunter and Alahna Ryan will "be a bit tender" after playing with the Rams on Saturday, and Townsend said "we're not going to be able to give Castlereagh any chance of a headstart.

"Chicka [Merritt, Goannas coach] always creates a brilliant game plan, and luckily enough every game we've been able to execute it," she said.

"We're really stable across the whole park … everyone does their job and … there's a lot of trust between the girls.

"Chicka's message has been we can't be complacent … we've gone through undefeated, but if we get beaten this weekend we're out so nothing else matters."

Many of the Goannas featured in the Group 11 side that lost last year's grand final to Group 10, so winning this time around "would mean everything".

But Townsend said the team was also mindful they were blazing a trail for future generations of girls to play tackle rugby league, an "opportunity … that we ever had".

"It's created this fire within us," she said of last year's loss.

"We started preseaon in November. Doing preseason in 44 degree heat isn't fun, but now we're reaping the rewards.

"For everyone that wants to have a look at women's rugby league in the country, come over to Wellington on Sunday … even the younger grades, the contact and their skill level is phenomenal.

"It's all about the promotion of the game."

Sunday's semi-final action kicks off at 10am with Woodbridge taking on the Orange Vipers in the under 15s, before the Goannas face Castlereagh at 11am.

Panorama will then play Mudgee in the second open semi-final at 12pm, before taking on the Goannas in the under 15s at 1pm.