QUEANBEYAN Whites women’s coach Ron Giteau says the club’s newly-formed women’s team will only improve next season after claiming last weekend’s premiership in its inaugural season.
The Whites downed Royals 13-7 in Saturday’s ACT Rugby Union grand final to cap off Queanbeyan’s stunning return to the women’s game.
After going three years without fielding a women’s side, the Whites were able to take full advantage of a player exodus from the Tuggeranong Vikings at the end of last season.
With a number of want-away Vikings players finding a new home at Campese Field, Queanbeyan took little time in establishing itself as a major competition threat.
And Giteau said he was confident the Whites will be able to carry over its winning form on to next season.
“They’ve got everything set up now so they should be right to go,” he said. “They’ve got plenty of confidence so they’ll take some beating.
“A lot of the girls were first year players this year so if they all put their hands up to go around again and stay committed for next year, they should do well.”
A former Wests, Eastern Suburbs and Canberra Raiders representative in the Australian Rugby League, Giteau became involved in a coaching role with Queanbeyan’s women’s outfit this season through his daughter and duel-code international Kristy.
“It was Kristy’s brainchild to get the side going,” he said. “She asked me if I’d coach and I didn’t mind helping out.
“I wasn’t too sure what we had to work with at the start of the season but we had a good bunch of girls who worked hard for it all year so it’s great to see it pay off.”
Queanbeyan was able to take plenty of confidence into last weekend’s grand final after knocking off competition front-runners Uni-Norths in the semi-finals to move directly through to the decider.
Against Royals, the Whites showed the same resolve that had seen them dispatch the minor premiers two weeks prior. After taking narrow 7-5 advantage at the break, two second-half penalty goals were enough to see Queanbeyan clinch the result.
“We knew in the second half we needed to maintain field position so we could play on the front foot and the girls played that out,” Ron Giteau said.
“Royals threw everything at us but the girls stuck to their guns and tackled their backsides off.”
“I was always under the belief the girls would be competitive this year, it was just a matter of getting their structures right in the forwards and at the scrum,” he said. “Once they did that, everything started to fall into place.”