Samantha Bremner scored the match-winner as the Sharks downed the Dragons in the women's Nines clash at Southern Cross Group Stadium.

Bremner's match-winning moment

Jillaroos fullback Samantha Bremner has capped off a landmark week for women's rugby league in Australia by scoring the match-winner for the Sharks as they downed the Dragons 16-12 in the inaugural women's Nines match on Saturday night.

The women's game received a huge boost earlier in the week when the NSWRL announced it would launch an under-18s women's Nines competition in 2017.

 


The Tarsha Gale Nines is a huge step towards full-time professionalism for female rugby league players, and Bremner told NRL.com it was another win for girls hoping to one day follow in her footsteps and represent Australia. 

"I feel like every time I wake up there's some good news about the women's game," she said.  

"There's always a new opportunity being presented by the NRL or NSWRL. If I don't get to play professional football down the track for whatever reason, I hope that I helped to pave the way for young girls to play professionally. 

"That 18-year-old bracket is so important because the girls can play until they're 12 but then they have to wait until they're in the open age group before they can play again. 

"We lose so many girls to different codes because of the absence of that pathways program for the middle-age group, so I think this is a great idea to help keep girls in the game."

Saturday night's game was the first women's Nines match between the Sharks and Dragons, and if the contest was anything to go by, next year's tournament is going to be a huge success. 

Both teams produced some stunning attacking passages to combine for four tries in a frenetic first-half that had the crowd in raptures throughout. 

"It was such a motivating experience as soon as we ran out. It was overwhelming to see so many people supporting us," Bremner said. 

"I think it was a lot harder than we expected. Nines is very hard to adapt to, especially because we've been 13-a-side all year. We all had so much fun and we're still buzzing from that game. 

"We struggled a bit in the second half because I think we were a bit overwhelmed."

It looked as if the Dragons would leave Southern Cross Group Stadium with the win after Talia Atfield gave them the lead late in the game when she raced through to ground her own grubber, but Bremner and the Sharks had other ideas.

In what turned out to be the final play of the game, Jillaroos five-eighth Allana Ferguson put in a speculative kick downfield from inside her own half, and after receiving a room-service bounce, Bremner regathered to score and win the game. 

"We noticed there was no fullback at the end and that happens a lot in the Nines because they have to push up to create an extra number. We didn't have long left so we just put in a kick and made it a footrace," she said. 

"Our halfback usually does a lot of the kicking so they were targeting her. It opened up some room for Allana and credit to her for putting in such an amazing kick. 

"I was a bit nervous waiting for that bounce to sit up for me but luckily it paid off. It was so awesome to hear the crowd roar at the end of the game and it's really underrated how much that support means to us."