NSW Waratahs women’s flanker Emily Chancellor feels as defending Super W champions they’ve become an even more closely bonded and formidable unit during the second instalment of the competition.
“We’re more of a team this year, there seems to be a lot more unity and everyone really trusts each other on and off the field which is fantastic and I feel that really inductive of having a successful team,” she said.
If you trust each other and you can work together, you’re going to be able to produce good on-field results.”
That team camaraderie and winning experience appear to give the team great confidence heading into the Super W grand final and it will be required to beat arch-rivals Queensland during this Sunday’s Super W final.
“It’s great to have leaders like Ash [Hewson], we look a lot to our girls that played Super W last year, just because they’ve got the experience of playing in the Super W grand final before and of course, we look to our Wallaroos and our leadership team in our squad to get us through,” Chancellor said.
It’s a leadership group which includes former Wallaroo skipper Hewson, who was instrumental in the team’s Super W win last year by tackling a barnstorming Samantha Treherne into touch in the 79th minute and then she slotted a penalty goal in the 92nd minute [double extra-time] of the match to win it.
The brain trust also includes Wallaroos Grace Hamilton, Alex Sulusi and Emily Robinson, among others and it holds the team in great stead when faced with on-field pressure situations, as well as the build-up to the final.
Having the week off’s been great for NSW, as the intensity of training sessions has gone up a notch in terms of execution and focus and it hasn’t quite been present at that level until this week.
Chancellor said the team and head coach Matt Evrard and his coaching staff have challenged themselves to experience “best yet” sessions, as they have challenged themselves to be the best versions of themselves during this season’s Super W grand final.
“We’re taking every day as it comes, as we say at the moment, we’re simmering.
“We’re not kicking it up too heavy yet, we want to tick each day off as it comes and build the nervous energy to a good point.
“Not too far come Sunday,” she said.
Queensland, on the other hand, had to slug it out with the ACT Brumbies in the qualifying final, which the Reds eventually won convincingly 39-10, after a fast start and early domination of field position by the Brumbies women.
“You can’t pre-meditate what a team’s going to do when they have skills across the park, so we just have to play what’s in front of us and attack where we see the opportunities,” she said.
On a personal note Chancellor’s happy to be back playing after suffering an injury in 2017 at sevens nationals and she had to sit out the inaugural Super W season, but she was around the playing group while undergoing her rehab as a then uncapped and injured Waratahs squad member.
Fast-forward twelve months and she’s now a celebrated rugby international with Super W experience, as the 2018 Wallaroos Player of the Year debuted for Australia in the series against the current world champions, the New Zealand Black Ferns and she was the Wallaroos best player.
She says that experience was humbling, but at the same time is “kind of scary” as she feels “there is a lot to live up to with that following me around”.
Which sums up Chancellor well, as win, lose or draw on Sunday, she’ll still have her feet planted firmly on the ground.
The NSW Waratahs will take on Queensland Women’s on Sunday, April 7 at Leichhardt Oval from 4:30pm AEST, LIVE on FOX SPORTS, Kayo and via RUGBY.com.au. (Photos: Caroline Layt)