The Narooma High School Rugby Union Under 16 boys and Under 14 girls played in the Brumbies 7s finals in Canberra on May 3.
The boys had qualified by winning the Bega gala day, defeating Bega HS, Lumen Christi and Eden Marine HS but they found the quality of the opposition in the finals a much sterner challenge.
After close run losses to Carroll College and Radford College they were beaten by Monaro HS and so ended the day winless but they showed a lot of character, playing with endeavour to the final whistle. They could take solace in the fact that they were the first Under 16 team from Narooma to get this far.
One player reflected on the fact that their opposing players played rugby union every week and although Narooma could match them in physicality they lost out to guile and instinctive reactions and decision making that playing regularly brings out in a player.
These characteristics on the other hand, are what gave the girls the edge. All of them are in their second year of playing rugby and some have been responsible for winning five trophies prior to this tournament. They had already played in two tournaments and were unbeaten and they were defending the title as reigning Southern NSW and ACT Brumbies 7s Champions.
The Narooma girls, also known as the Emeralds, drew Trinity College and Goulburn HS in the pool rounds. They defeated both teams 4 tries to 1 with Makayla kicking a couple of conversions to extend the final scores and qualifying for the semi- final.
In the semi -final the Emeralds took on a large Wagga HS squad with some fast players. The coach had identified the breakdown as the key to winning the tournament and stressed that in rugby you could not sit back and make tackles expecting to get the use of the ball, you had to win it and retain it.
Narooma tackled hard from the first kick off and competed aggressively at the breakdown. In defence the team worked hard at getting up fast on the opposition.
With all this pressure Narooma dominated possession and made some excellent decisions when using the ball. They ran in some excellent tries, one in particular of a sublime standard with all players handling the ball.
The changes in direction and lines of running of support players was such that they confused even the cameraman, who missed filming his daughter scoring under the post. The Wagga side was left tryless as Narooma ran in five tries to make the final.
Narooma were by far the best team in the tournament and they made sure that they took home the trophy by leaving nothing to doubt.
The final score of 42-0 against Goulburn in the final reflected this dominance and the growth of the girls as a group. Makayla Morris was judged to be the player of the tournament but she was ably assisted by the rest of the team who made that recognition possible.