QUEENSLAND teenager Alysia Fakaosilea was the hero for the Reds, with a game-changing tackle and last-gasp try clinching a golden point thriller over NSW – which was captained by Vincentia’s Ashleigh Hewson - at the weekend's Brisbane Global Rugby Tens tournament.
The Queenslanders, coached by former Shoals captain/coach Michael Hayes, trailed NSW for all but the final seconds of regulation time, before Sammie Treherne scored to level things up, sending the game into golden point extra-time.
Neither side was able to break the deadlock in the opening five-minute extra-time period, and things were still even deep into the second, before Fakaosilea stepped up.
The 17-year-old axed NSW speedster Olivia Brooks in a crunching tackle on the sideline and followed it up with the match-winning try in the 27th minute.
Though she was the one inflicting the hit, Fakaosilea said it reverberated through her body.
“I just had my head down, eyes closed and then opened my eyes,” she said post-match.
“I felt it on my shoulder and my whole body.”
Fakaosilea has been the star of the tournament, winning the competition MVP after her sensational outings over the two days.
The talented teen's performance is even more significant, knowing she was carrying an ankle injury in the decider, something she showed no evidence of in her match-winning display.
“Playing with the girls and doing the (fitness) test I felt really not confident but the girls they perked me up and my ankle's fine now,” she said.
“I gave it my all and now my ankle's a bit sore. It was good to have the girls' back (and score)..
“I'd do anything for them.”
Queensland and NSW were the clear standout teams of the tournament, enjoying dominant wins over the Rebels and Brumbies sides, in a competition that showed off some exciting emerging talent.
It was an emotional game for the Queenslanders, whose skipper Kirby Sefo lost her grandmother just before the tournament.
Queensland's women wore black armbands through the tournament in respect for their captain and NSW also wore armbands in the decider.
"That was really special and we banded up every game and even NSW did in the final," she said.
"My family at home all wathcing and I'll fly home tomorrow. It was special tonight."
Sefo said the opportunity to be a part of the tournament, in the first full-blown women's Brisbane Tens, was an invaluable opportunity for her team to show off their quality.
"We’re really grateful - literally we don’t have that crowd and if we do play at Suncorp, it’s usually empty," she said.
"It’s important to see that women's rugby is good rugby and people are really buzzing over what we did tonight."
Queensland coach Michael Hayes said he always felt his side could work its way back from the adversity.
"I really do believe in the capacity of the girls and the way they've been training," he said.
"We've built these building blocks from which to work from and the building blocks are starting to form what I would consider, metaphorically a really nice house."
Berry’s Will Miller helped the NSW Waratahs men’s side reach the quarter-finals of the men’s Brisbane Tens tournament, where they were defeated by the Hurricanes 35-24.