Raidettes finish on high note to be third
RUGBY LEAGUE: A late try from Gladstone Raidettes sealed the deal in the play-off game against Sunshine Coast in yesterday's 47th Battalion in Yeppoon.
Raidettes' Prue Maeyke threw a perfectly weighted 25m pass to a running Vassa Hunter that set up the try.
It was anyone's game until that stage and Raidettes coach Andy Butler was proud of the 14-6 win.
"It got pretty close at the start and we matched them,” Butler said.
He had an insight into the the Sunny Coast's game plan after he watched them play against Rockhampton.
"They only had just lost to Rockhampton (18-16) who have made it into the final,” Butler said.
It proved a master stroke in Butler's planning for the third-place play-off match.
"From the outset we just bashed them in defence,” Butler said.
He said while it was a complete team effort which yielded two wins and a loss, he singled out a few players.
"Kristal Johnston, Meagan Wex and Krystal Sulter were great,” he said.
"Krystal actually got the Players Player award where the players from our team vote on who they think is the best player.”
Butler said the forwards worked hard as a "team within a team” and the younger brigade shone.
"Carly Hill and Rikarra Benjamin are 17-year-olds and they were just great as well,” he said.
"It's great for their development.”
Butler said the Raidettes had self-belief.
Errors plagued the Raidettes in the second match on Saturday night against Central Highlands, but Butler knew they would turn their fortunes around.
"It was just one bad half of footy and in the second half it was 4-4 against Central Highlands,” he said.
"I was always pretty confident that we would go well in this tournament.”
The Raidettes started the 47th Battalion with a bang in a 16-8 win against Bundaberg in which Wex scored a try and two conversions, and Benjamin and Johnston also crossed the try-line.
It augers well for the future of women's rugby league in Gladstone.
"I'm really proud of them all and it's great to have a stand-alone team and not rely on players from Rockhampton in the side,” Butler said.
Central Highlands took out the tournament with a 26-8 win against Rocky.
Rockhampton started with a try courtesy of Nicole Collins, but from that point it was all Highlands women.
Carly Bell got her team on the board and she added two more tries in the second half.
Meanwhile games resume in the Rockhampton extended A-grade, reserves and women's competition this Saturday and Sunday.
Tannum Seagulls have a Marley Brown showdown against Gladstone Valleys while Gladstone Brothers travel to Yeppoon to take on Yeppoon.
Both games are at 6pm this Saturday.