Premier Women look to finish historic season

2023 has already been the most successful season in the history of Women's rugby at Marist St Pats. The side will look to finish the season on top when they take on Petone in this weekend's Tia Paasi Memorial Cup Final.

The side takes a nine game winning streak into the final having collected the Rebecca Liua'ana Trophy for the first time ever (shared with Petone) and having retained the Challenge Cup they have held since last year.

Their opponents in the final are the only team that has beaten them in competition matches this season, way back in the first round of the Rebecca Liua'ana Trophy on 8 April. That result was reversed three weeks ago in the Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy round. With the season match up at one-apiece and the first round trophy shared - this is a salivating match up.

Saturday will mark the side's second consecutive appearance in the Tia Paasi Memorial Trophy Final and the team has learned a lot from that experience. Coach Ryan Setefano notes that 'although the result or performance didn’t go the way we planned we learned so much from it; that rugby is just a game and not to get too overwhelmed by the occasion. Keep things simple, trust the process and as our girls say “it’s not that deep” meaning it’s a game WE play and not the other way around.'

Reflecting on their first encounter with Petone this season, he said 'early on in the season our squad numbers were an issue which put us under pressure in that first game against Petone. Since then, the buy in from our girls has been outstanding and it has shown on and off the field with growth each week.'

'We are going to continue playing the expansive and exciting style of rugby we have been showing all season. We know Petone are dangerous with threats across the entire field. They are a well drilled side with a good skill set. It will be a great showcase of women’s rugby.'

The expansive game Ryan refers to has been a trademark of the team this year with high scoring matches and plenty of tries scored. The team features a strong mix of players including emerging talent and established representative players that play as a unit. Ryan sees the value of this, 'I love what each player brings to the team as they all add their own unique colour to our canvas. The style of rugby you see is created by the whole squad.'

We asked Ryan what the key to success is this weekend: 'Identity, Purpose & Aiga are key elements to creating the success we’ve seen this year. It started years ago with past players laying the foundation for our current players to walk on. One day, 20 years from now, our daughters and sons will look at our women's achievements with pride and hopefully want to wear the red jersey at our club. That’s the reason behind Aiga Malisi. One club, One Family. Leave the space better than we find it.'

The final will be held at the sparkling new NZCIS facility in Upper Hutt on Saturday at 11.30am. We encourage the entire Marist St Pats community to get out and support our team! Keep an eye on our social media channels on Friday for the team list.

We invite all our supporters to the clubrooms on Saturday night to receive our team and acknowledge their huge achievements this season.

If you can't make it to the game, the final will be livestreamed on the NZCIS YouTube channel.

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