Hunter Sports High School prodigy Ngalika Barker has again proven her rising stock in the world of rugby league, scoring an instrumental late try in NSW Country’s 16-12 victory over arch-rivals NSW City.
The dramatic late four-pointer also secured Country’s victory in the National Championships on the Gold Coast, with eight of the seventeen players in the final hailing from the CRL Newcastle squad.
As well as young Barker, Newcastle also offered up long-term veterans of the scene Isabelle Kelly and Rebecca Young, and added to the cohort with Jayme Fressard, Melanie Howard, Hannah Southwell, Holli Wheeler and Emma Young off the bench.
Quincy Dodd opened the scoring for City early on in the contest, before Country captain Sam Bremner delivered a 20-metre pass to put Shakiah Tungai in at the corner.
Lavina O’Mealey scored to give City the lead again, but a rampaging try from Kyara Nean levelled the score heading into the half break.
City’s halfback Maddie Studdon again gave the eventual losers the lead with a major solo effort, but Barker’s late winner was yet to come, and eventually Country were crowned reigning queens of the national tournament.
The tournament also served as a precursor for the upcoming women’s State of Origin, and bodes well for New South Wales – both Queensland teams failed to make the eventual title fight.
The upcoming women’s State of Origin series will be played at North Sydney Oval on Friday, June 22.