Noosa Dolphins triumph in women's rugby 12s grand final
RUGBY UNION: Noosa women's coach Patrick Smith has praised his charges for their efforts after they claimed the Sunshine Coast women's 12s title on Saturday.
The Dolphins capped their impressive season with a 31-26 grand final victory over Caloundra at their own ground.
"There's jubilation. It's a great team," Smith said.
"We've only got a small (forward) pack so we've worked on our defence for the last three or four weeks knowing we were probably going to come up against Caloundra and it paid dividends, no doubt about it.
"We knew we were in for a hard game. Caloundra are a bigger, more physical side but our lightweight pack served up the goods for us and our backs scored the tries. It was a fantastic effort."
The Dolphins won six of eight games during the regular season to seal the minor premiership in the five-team competition, before going on with the job in the four-team finals.
"We've got a great forward pack. They do what's asked of them and our backline is quite devastating. They're a very quick unit," Smith said.
"Once we started moving the ball, we tired their bigger forwards and that was the game plan, to move the ball around a lot and wear them down a bit."
Smith also lauded Caloundra for their efforts in the decider. "They pushed us all the way," he said.
The likes of Tess Evans and Claudia Hack played well for Noosa while Smith held special praise for Maggie Glassock.
"What a legend and a great player," he said.
"She's come through the ranks of the juniors and she basically opened up everything in the second half for us.
"She played a fantastic game and I couldn't be more proud of her."
Backs Kelli Dunlop and Lauren Sipp also made their presence felt while centre Te-Aroha Rapana-Smith's defence has been a feature for the side this season.
This was the first year the Sunshine Coast Rugby Union had a women's 12s competition, after Noosa had won the previous 10-a-side and 7-a-side seasons.
The local women's rugby union will now briefly focus on the the traditional 15-a-side format though, with three Sunshine Coast North v South matches.
A North team will be selected from Gympie, Noosa and Maroochydore and a South team will be picked from University of the Sunshine Coast and Caloundra.
A five-round sevens series with finals will then be contested.
Meanwhile, in the region's A-grade, Caloundra beat University of Sunshine Coast 65-37 and Noosa beat Maroochydore 33-12.