Griffith’s rugby sevens team secured the Queensland regional Aon University Sevens title over the weekend, winning on overall points despite losing to Bond University in the grand final game of the second local tournament.
Points were gathered from play at both regional rounds, with Griffith taking out the earlier Aon tournament at Easts Rugby Club on March 27-28.
The second round was held over two days at Surfers Paradise and featured Bond University, University of Queensland (UQ) and Griffith plus a new combined Queensland side, after University of Adelaide and Melbourne University joined the NSW regional competition to avoid possible border closure issues.
Co-captain Kiri Lingman said while the result against Bond was disappointing, the on-field action was some of the tournament’s best so far.
“It was probably the best game of the tournament and it ended up being really close at 21-15,” she said.
“I think we scored the same number of tries but we just didn’t convert our kicks.
“We made a few too many errors and they have a lot of speed, so they pretty much just picked it up and went with it.”
Lingman said the altered tournament format played out better than teams expected.
“Organisers did a good job and had pretty much the same number of games as we normally would have,” she added.
“It was basically the same standard though the fourth team was a combined team.
“Bond, UQ and Griffith are probably three of the strongest teams for Aon in the country anyway and to have a combined team that was just as competitive was a pretty good thing for us, especially to be prepping for this national tournament.”
Coach Moana Virtue said she was very proud of the Griffith team for accomplishing their goal of winning the Queensland regional Aon title.
“We had to strip everything back and start from scratch this year and really work at key areas of our whole game, so to see it pay off has been rewarding,” she said.
“We were disappointed to lose the weekend’s grand final, but Bond were too good for us.”
Griffith defeated the combined Queensland side 24-17 to kick off the second regional tournament.
Fresh off a win against UQ, Bond then beat Griffith 17-12 despite a late surge from the Griffith girls.
In what was described as an ‘abrasive encounter’ Griffith then smashed UQ 26-10. Tries were scored by Georgina Friedrichs, Ivana Lolesio and Kahli Henwood in the first half and Ivania Wong shortly after returning from half time.
In the round’s semi-final matchups, Griffith easily dispatched with UQ 26 nil, running in four tries with scores to Ivana Lolesio, Alana Grace, Terri-Anne Egan and Chantay Ratu.
Awarded overall regional winners on points, Griffith will now prepare for the first of two national finals tournaments to be held on May 1 and 2.
“I think we’re one of the fittest teams out there but we start really slow in the game and while we probably are the best finishers in the entire competition we’re sometimes just leaving it a bit too late,” Lingman said.
“UTS ended up taking out their (NSW) regional tournament and watching them on the livestream (showed) they were pretty sharp, so I think they’ll definitely be the NSW team to beat.”
“We use every training and game as a learning opportunity and always want to be better so that’s exactly what we’ll be doing over the next three weeks till Nationals in Sydney,” Moana Virtue added.