KEAS RUN DOWN SWANS TO TAKE OUT WOMEN’S GRAND FINAL
Linwood Keas clinched their first CRL Women’s Premiership since 2018 with a 22-20 over two-time defending champs Sydenham Swans in a grand final thriller at Nga Puna Wai.
Trailing by 10 points with 14 minutes remaining, the Keas scored the last three tries of the decider to snatch the title.
Swans forward Janaya Mata crashed over for the first four-pointer in the 10th minute, but Keas front-rower Angelo Petero and winger Tayjuan Faataape-Tuiloma scored in consecutive sets midway through the first half for a 10-4 lead.
Abby Thornley responded for Sydenham with a try just before halftime to cut the deficit to two points.
Another barnstorming effort from Mata 10 minutes after the break put the Swans back in front, before a slick passing movement resulted in a try for Harmony Simaile and a 10-point advantage as a premiership three-peat looked set to materialise.
After resisting more goal-line pressure, the Keas struck back in the 67th minute with a try from close range to inspirational former Kiwi Fern Sui Pauaraisa. Lana Muamua powered past three defenders to score and peg the score back to 20-18 with seven minutes left.
The Keas held their nerve and took their match-winning opportunity in the 78th minute, Petero scoring out wide after a series of long passes.
Relive Linwood’s triumph in a classic women’s grand final in the video below.