A SOUL searching session after their pool match loss to NSW triggered Queensland's remarkable run to the women's Brisbane Tens title, according to coach Michael Hayes – a former captain/coach of Shoals.
All the hype after their golden point grand final win over NSW focused on Alysia Fakaosilea's incredible performance in the final but for Hayes, the moment which filled him with confidence came after the 19-5 loss to NSW on Friday.
"We did some serious soul searching in the dressing room after that game and we came up, collectively, with a plan," Hayes said.
"We presented that in the next game, we built on that in the game against the Rebels and I was really confident going into the game against NSW."
Beating NSW was a mental hurdle which Hayes' side had to clear prior to the inaugural Super W season, which kicks off in March.
Sydney have won a string of five straight national titles so to come up big in golden point was a sign that the belief is there to roll the competition favourites come the season proper.
"It's nice to knock them (off) – they've been champs for god knows how long – as long as I have been playing," centre Sarah Riordan said.
"It just shows the girls that anything is possible as long as we play as a team.
"You can beat anyone, really – it was a great start."
Hayes named his 30-woman squad on Monday and with the Tens now in the rear view mirror, all eyes are on the inaugural Super W prize.
"We have a lovely blend of experience and youth and we saw the wonder Alysia Fakaosilea on the weekend – she's typical of that youthfulness, energy and spirit," Hayes said.
"We've got Sarah Riordan, we've got Liz Patu, we've got Cheyenne Campbell, we've got Kirby (Sefo), of course, our captain.
"This is my first sojourn into women's rugby and I'm really enjoying it because of the affirmation the girls give each other."
Fakaosilea stole the show on Saturday night but Hayes kept a lid on things, attributing her sharp rise to the top of the code with the leadership displayed by captain Kirby Sefo.
"I've seen, from her, exactly what I've seen from every other player in this squad," Hayes said of the star 17-year-old.
"They bring their talent to the squad, enthusiasm, energy.
"With Alysia what we need to do is just protect her a little bit, too.
"She is still only at school but she is so grounded."