Goannas ready for top of the table grand final clash with Vipers

Three of the Wiradjuri Goannas' four sides will feature in next weekend's Western Women's Rugby League grand finals after winning through to their respective deciders on the weekend.

While the path was paved by wins for the Goannas under 15s and 18s teams earlier in the day at Spooner Oval in Forbes, it was the powerhouse opens side who laid claim to the club's biggest achievement; extending an unbeaten streak that stretches back through the entirety of last season with a win over the Mudgee Dragons.

A try in the first two minutes from Bec Smyth, who's been a standout for the Goannas throughout the season, afforded them some breathing room and a second blow was dealt shortly after by Ashley Ward, giving the Goannas a 10-o lead that held at 20-10 by half time.

The Dragons put up a hard fight to close the gap, but left the field in Forbes on the losing side of a 36-22 scorecard that saw them eliminated from finals contention.


Goannas captain Cassie Toomey credited the Dragons for their spirited effort, having been dealt a much more lopsided loss by the Goannas earlier in the season.

"It was a pretty tough game from both sides. Mudgee have improved heaps and they really gave it to us yesterday [Sunday], they really showed us that we need to work on a few things coming into the grand final," Toomey said.

The Goannas were bolstered by a few of the 18s players, with India Draper, Kiara Singh and Ashley Ward all drawing praise from Toomey for their contributions.

"They do an amazing job backing up for us after their game, which is a lot to take on playing back to back games."

The Goannas will now square off against a resurgent Orange Vipers outfit that has bounced back from the hardship of failing to field a team last year to book a grand final showdown with the defending premiers.

The Vipers beat Woodbridge Cup 34-16 on Saturday in order to take up the first spot in the grand final.

The last time the two sides met the Vipers were dealt a 26-16 loss by the Goannas on the under card to the Western Ram's clash with visiting France in Parkes, but Toomey expects to see the same leap in improvement the Dragons and other teams have shown coming into the season's final rounds.

"I reckon the Vipers will have improved leaps and bounds," she said.

"Every team has really been improving heaps this season and it's been pushing us and making us more determined to win. We've played a lot with the Vipers girls in the Western Rams team, so they've been there with us and we know they're good competition."

"We'll need to work a bit more on our defence and manage our attack, but if we can play the way we've been playing in our recent games, we'll be alright."

Those improvements, and the lift in competitiveness the competition has seen recently, are something that Toomey hopes will afford the women's sport more focus and a bigger audience.

"I definitely think it's a good sign of how the game's growing and getting better, hopefully this kind of game creates more pathways for us girls in the future.

"There's a very good level of quality among the country girls, a lot of our players have to move to Sydney if they want to keep playing, so hopefully it draws a bit of the interest back here and makes things a bit bigger close to home."

The Goannas will hampered by the loss of star forward Bec Smyth, who suffered a broken arm on the weekend and despite managing to complete the game against Mudgee, will miss the upcoming grand final.

"She put up a big fight on the weekend, she's really tough," Toomey said.

Despite the blow, Toomey remains confident her side will be ready for the challenge.

"I think we'll play a good game against the Vipers, our girls are ready to go."

This story Goannas ready for grand final defence against Orange Vipers first appeared on Daily Liberal.