VINCENTIA’S Ash Hewson will have the honour of leading the NSW Waratahs on to the field on Friday against Queensland, as they chase the inaugural Super W title.
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A win on Friday evening at Allianz Stadium would cap off a sensation debut season for Hewson and her Waratahs.
“This season has been amazing – it’s something I never thought I’d see in my playing career,” Hewson said.
“Especially being in the latter part of my career, I’m very lucky to be involved.
“In the past, we’ve had nationals, which I’ve been a part of for the past 10 years, that ran over a couple of days, so this competition has created a semi-professional environment for everyone – which is amazing.
“The competition has been great for rugby union and I know with the support of Rugby Australia, it’s only going to get bigger in the future.”
Going into inaugural season, the Waratahs were quickly pegged as favourites – a label they lived up to, after winning all four of their matches this season.
“Heading into the season, we were always going to be identified as a strong team, on the back of our recent dominance with the Sydney team at nationals,” she said.
“But the girls have lived up to the hype and gone through the home and away season undefeated – conceding only five tries, which is a super defensive effort.
“Defence comes down to willingness to get up and work for your teammates – hopefully we can continue that trend on Friday.”
The final will pit Hewson’s Waratahs against the Reds, coached by former Shoals captain/coach Michael Hayes.
“Everyone wants to win a final and we won’t be showing any complacency against a much-improved Reds side,” Hewson said.
“Mick [Hayes] is doing great things at the Reds, instilling a professional environment and it’s showing on the field with the way the women are playing.”
With plenty of experience under her belt, fullback Hewson, who has been happy with how she has played, has cherished the chance to lead NSW.
“When I was announced skipper, it was a massive honour and still is,” she said.
“To be named captain of any team is special but to lead this club in its first season and this special group of women, is something I haven’t take for granted.
“There’s a core group of girls here that should be able to build together in the coming years – the game is in very good hands.
“Hopefully this phenomenal product can become professional one day, with women and men on equal footing and us playing international teams too.
“Playing that calibre of talent week in, week out is only going to make the Wallaroos stronger, which has to be the goal long term – especially with the 2022 World Cup in mind.”
NSW women’s side to face Queensland: 1. Emily Robinson, 2. Tasmin Sheppard, 3. Evelyn Horomia, 4. Ana-Lise Sio, 5. Inge Visser, 6. Grace Hamilton, 7. Ariana Kaiwai, 8. Laura Devereux, 9. Cobie-Jane Morgan, 10. Chloe Leaupepe, 11. Atasi Lafai, 12. Kennedy Cherrington, 13. Crystal Maguire, 14. Shanice Parker, 15. Ashleigh Hewson ©, 16. Sarah Laman, 17. Melissa Fatu, 18. Nancy Vaiaku, 19. Fi Jones, 20. Natalie Maclarn, 21. Katrina Barker, 22. Iliseva Batibasaga and 23. Josephine Falesita.
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