The Maitland Pickers women have qualified for the 2020 Newcastle RL Blues Tag grand final with an 8-2 victory over Central Newcastle at Maitland Sportsground on Saturday.
Unfortunately the results were reversed in the under-19 preliminary final with the Pickers going down 12-6 after a scoreless second half.
Maitland opened the scoring with a try to wing Colby Hollingshed out wide. Skipper Noah Ryan narrowly missed the conversion.
Central struck back in the 21st and 25th minutes with tries to Tyler Doney and Ryan Weatherall both converted by Lachlan O'Brien.
Maitland earned a penalty with only seconds left on the clock and Ryan converted from 30 metres out in front of the uprights.
Both teams had chances in the second half but the score remained 12-6 with Central progressing to the grand final against the winner of Sunday's preliminary final between Lake Macquarie and South Newcastle.
The Blues Tag preliminary final was also a battle of defences and after scoring a converted try in the opening minute to lead 6-0, the Pickers and Central added just two points each for the remainder of the game.
The opening try was something special with fullback Brooke Carol leaving everyone in her wake on a 70-metre dash after a break on the Pickers 30-metre line.
Bree Lacy kicked the conversion and landed a penalty goal in the second half to take the score to 8-2 after they were 6-2 at the break.
Pickers coach Tony Howard praised his team's supreme defensive effort in denying Central a try despite defending several repeat sets three times.
The Pickers will meet the winner of Sunday's preliminary final between South Newcastle and West Newcastle in the grand final at the Maitland Sportsground the following Sunday.
Full story to come.