Parkes has held on to claim a thrilling league tag elimination semi-final victory over Macquarie, scoring a 28-16 extra-time win over the Raidettes on Saturday.
Kicking the Group 11 finals series off in style at Jock Colley Field, Macquarie stormed home in the final six minutes of the do-or-die semi-final after tries to Cailin O’Connor and electric fullback Jasmine Daley drew the Raidettes to within striking distance of victory at 16-14.
Awarded a penalty within kicking distance inside the final 60 seconds, O’Connor stepped up to successfully slot the two points and send the clash into extra-time.
But the additional five-minute periods were dominated by the hosts.
As they’d done so well in the opening half to set up a 12-4 lead and later a 16-4 advantage, Parkes sent the ball wide with great success, the speed of India Draper and Tyannua Goolagong proving too much for the Macquarie outside backs to handle.
The dynamic Spacecats duo recorded doubles, both bagging crucial four-points in extra-time to ensure the defending champions progressed through to the second week of the Group 11 semi-finals.
Both Draper’s tries and Goolagong’s four-pointers all started from within their own half of the field, the pair streaking away to help propel their side into a minor semi-final.
“It was pretty nerve-racking,” Spacecats skipper Claire Barber said.
“It got a bit stressful but once we relaxed we were all over it.”
Parkes was all over it in the opening term, too.
Tries to Draper and Goolagong – along with two conversions to Barber – shot the Spacecats out to a 12-0 lead.
HT | Spacecats on 🔥🔥🔥🔥— Nick McGrath (@nickmcgrath4) August 19, 2017
Draper and Goolagong rocket the premiers to an early lead. Dymphna Smith scored late for Raiders. It's 12-4 #Group11
Macquarie hit back before half-time through Dymphna Smith to reduce the deficit at the break to eight points, but Parkes looked poised to kick-on in the second half of the sudden death semi-final.
Three minutes into the new term they threatened to do just that, Demi-Joyce Winter scoring for Parkes to bump the score out to 16-4.
Errors crept into the match after that, but at no point did the Spacies girls look like relinquishing the lead.
That was until the final six minutes.
On the back of a monumental momentum shift, the Raidetters stormed back into the contest to very nearly steal an unlikely semi-final win.
“They’re a tough side. You never know what they’re going to throw at you and we saw that at the end,” Barber added.
Macquarie coach Chris Cook was always confident his team could get itself back into the contest.
“The plan was to play up-tempo, we’re slow starters but I thought if we improved our line-speed we’d match it with them,” he said.
“But it only takes one tag … Parkes proved that. It only takes one miss of a tag and they scored three 80 metres tries.”