While a Counties Manukau side laden with Warriors NRL premiership players dominated the final, Akarana and Warriors loose forward Georgia Hale claimed the top individual honour on the last day of the NZRL national women’s tournament at Bruce Pulman Park in Papakura today.
The Stingrays just squeezed into the decider after edging the Mid-Central Vipers 14-12 in their semi-final yesterday but they responded by overpowering the Akarana Falcons 32-4 in the final to retain their crown.
Kiwi Ferns and Warriors centre Amber Kani opened the scoring for Counties Manukau before Akarana responded through another Warriors NRLW player in centre Jules Newman, who switched to rugby league just a few months ago.
That would be the only joy for the Falcons as the Stingrays struck again through Kiwi Ferns and Warriors hooker Krystal Rota to take a 10-4 lead into halftime.
Rota had a second after the break while Kiwi Ferns and Warriors fullback Apii Nicholls also crossed.
While she was in the beaten Akarana side, Kiwi Ferns star and Vodafone Warriors community relations coordinator Hale was the standout individual over the three days to claim the player of the tournament award.
Earlier in the day, the Auckland Vulcans accounted for Wai-Coa-Bay 30-8 in the play-off for fifth and sixth while Canterbury finished third after edging the Mid-Central Vipers 6-4 in the third and fourth play-off.
NZRL NATIONAL WOMEN’S TOURNAMENT
At Bruce Pulman Park, Papakura
Counties Manukau Stingrays 32 (Krystal Rota 2, Amber Kani, Mele Hufanga, Apii Nicholls, Kararaina Wira-Kohu tries; Apii Nicholls 4 conversions).
Akarana Falcons 4 (Jules Newman try).
Halftime: 10-4 Stingrays.
Canterbury 6 (Cassie Siataga try; Cassie Siataga conversion).
Mid-Central Vipers 4 (Sherri Burgess try).
Auckland Vulcans 30 (Laishon Albert Jones 2, Aleasha Brider, Mele Toki, Tahina Heta, Alix Leaupepe tries; Jhana Magele 3 conversions).
Wai-Coa-Bay 8 (Nina Barton, Daumavia Herewini tries).
NZRL National Women’s Tournament Team
1 Apii NICHOLLS COUNTIES
2 Juliana NEWMAN AKARANA
3 Shontelle WOODMAN AKARANA
4 Joeannha PURCELL AKARANA
5 Atawhai TUPAEA COUNTIES
6 Tawny BURGESS MID CENTRAL
7 Charntay POKO AKARANA
8 Annetta-Claudia NUUAUSALA AKARANA
9 Krystal ROTA COUNTIES
10 Aiesha Leigh SMALLEY COUNTIES
11 Ngatokotoru ARAKUA AKARANA
12 Onjeurlina LEIATAUA COUNTIES
13 Georgia HALE AKARANA
14 Kristina SUE MID CENTRAL
15 Tanika-Jazz NOBLE AKARANA
16 Geneva Tainui WEBBER COUNTIES
17 Crystal TAMARUA AKARANA
- Coach of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan NZRL – Ross Uele
- Manager of the Tournament – Awarded by (TBC) Nadene Conlon NZRL = Sabrina Manu
- Referee of the Tournament – Awarded by Luke Watts NZRL – Rochelle Tamarua
- Trainer of the Tournament – Awarded by Elizabeth Richards = Haze Rewiti
- NZRL “More Than Just A Game” Team of the Tournament – Awarded by Elizabeth Richards – Mid-Central Vipers
- Best Back of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan – Joeannha Purcell
- Best Forward of the Tournament – Awarded by Justin Morgan – Aiesha Leigh Smalley
- Player of the Tournament – Awarded by Luisa Avaiki – Georgia Hale