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Day 4: NSW City crowned national champions

NSW City has made amends for last year's disappointment to crush NSW Country 34-4 and win the Harvey Norman National Championships on Sunday.

A hat-trick to Tiana Penitani – later announced as player of the tournament – inspired the City side, who were boosted by the inclusion of Jillaroos prop Simaima Taufa for the final.

But it was the little-known players, Penitani and Botille Vette-Welsh, who kept Country on the back foot throughout the second half. 

Country had a fair case for a six-again call just after halftime that went against them, and that proved the turning point for Matt Parish's side as City piled on four tries in 11 minutes. 

City halfback Maddie Studdon capped off a solid tournament with a slick solo try, while centres Jess Sergis and Shontelle Stowers were both solid.

"We just pulled through especially in the second half, I'm so proud of the girls," Studdon said. 

The NSW City team that won the National Championships.
The NSW City team that won the National Championships. ©Jason O'Brien/NRL Photos

"This year we were more prepared and it was like revenge, we really wanted it.

"We knew we could get it, we had to play to our full strength. We just wanted it so much more than Country."

Earlier, City took just two minutes to get over the line with Penitani finishing off a backline movement on the left edge for the first of the afternoon.

Back-to-back penalties enabled NSW Country to march up field and veteran hooker Kylie Hilder made a sharp run look easy to burrow her way over to level the scores in the seventh minute.

Maitua Feterika scores a try for South East Queensland.
Maitua Feterika scores a try for South East Queensland. ©NRL Photos

Country continued to surge with better field position but a forward pass from Ruan Sims to Bec Young turned momentum as City crossed again through Penitani in near identical fashion for the fifth try of her impressive tournament.

In the earlier games, a late try to Layla Fauid saw the third-place playoff between Queensland Country and South East Queensland end in a 16-16 draw. 

Tries to Maitua Feterika and Karina Brown in the second half looked to have secured the win for SEQ but a charging run and offload late from Stephanie Hancock sent Fauid over the line on fulltime. 

Fill-in five-eighth Lana Sheedy performed strongly for the Country side with a leaping effort in the air to help get the side within reach late. 

Maroons coach Jason Hetherington watched the all-Queensland clash with State of Origin selections just a week away.

In the earlier game, Combined Affiliate States grounded out a 10-4 victory over the Australian Defence Force to finish their campaign on a positive note. 

A runaway try to Darwin's La-Toniya Norris broke a 4-4 deadlock midway through the second half, before a late penalty goal late from Kailey Thompson gave the side enough breathing space to secure the win. 

Sergis returns from injury woes

The ADF had a number of injury concerns to round out the tournament with Stephanie Kopp (shoulder) and Talesha Quinn (knee) leaving the field. 

Under the tournament rules, the game clock continued to click over despite treatment being offered to Kopp. At least eight minutes of playing time was lost due to the injury. 


NSW City 34 (Tiana Penitani 3, Teina Clark, Kiana Takairangi, Maddie Studdon, Botille Vetter-Welsh tries; Maddie Studdon 3 goals) defeated NSW Country 4 (Kylie Hilder try)

Queensland Country 16 (Lana Sheedy 2, Layla Fauid tries; Lana Sheedy 2 goals) drew with South East Queensland 16 (Tanika Marshall, Karina Brown, Maitua Feterika tries; Ali Brigginshaw 2 goals) 

Combined Affiliate States 10 (Cherysh Leaf, La-Toniya Norris tries; Kailey Thompson 1 goal) defeated Australian Defence Force 4 (Morgan Higgins try)


Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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