NRL WA 2022 Representative Wrap – Open Women’s

As we head into the end of the year that was in 2022, its time to look back on the year that was, starting with a representative wrap of our state teams and show them the love they deserve for representing our great state of Western Australia.

Next up our Open Women’s team.

The Open Women’s side participated at the Women’s National Championships in 2022.

The competition took place at Pizzey Park, Miami QLD, the home of the Burleigh Bears. In the women’s division, WA had a target on their back as the defending champions, and with no South Australia this year, NSW Country were added and loomed as the big danger. This tournament is a stepping stone to NRL W, with the best players in the country outside of Elite Competitions on show.

Day 1 – Win 16-0 – ADF
WA were too strong for the ladies from the Defence Force, with a comprehensive shutout in a 20 minute show of force. Backrower Te Rauhina Wall got the ball rolling early and it was non stop after that from the right side with Turner and Hira-Herangi also cashing in quickly. With Stephens, Ravatudei and Toa-Amoa particularly effective in the middle of the ruck, it allowed the halves and outside runners the space need to really push the agenda and get off on the right foot.

Day 2A – Draw 0-0 – First Nations Gems—round-2/
In what was a frustrating game for both teams, neither could really get going offensively with dropped balls dominating the contest. With WA mainly on their line, it was a case of just holding on for dear life as they constantly turned away the big attack from the ladies from the First Nations Gems. Strong games in defence from Swannell and Clair in particular along with some great scrambling from King and Ruru-Hinaki allowed WA to walk away with a crucial draw.

Day 2B – Loss 14-0 – NSW Country—round-2/
Day 2 was not the day for WA. Already feeling slightly off balanced with a uncharacteristic performance against the Gems, things went from bad to worse as NSW Country dominated the fixture. With a nice mixture of speed and skill, the NSW Country outside backs were undeniable as they romped to a 14-0 shutout against our ladies.

Day 3A – Win 4-0 – Victoria–round-3/
With a poor day 2 behind them, Day 3 was for all the marbles, as WA needed some important wins to get back to the grand final on day 4. And they started it off right with a win against Victoria. In what was a fast start, WA controlled the contest from the outset, with Matoe in particular causing all sorts of issues for the middle defenders. With Arnika Cave going over early, the one try was enough as the West Aussie ladies got the job done against our fierce rivals.

Day 3B – Win 4-0 – Northern Territory–round-3/
The solution was simple for WA. Beat NT and they guaranteed. Lose, and they would have to wait for other results and for and against to play a part. But the ladies were up for it. An early try to Araina Hira-Herangi set the stage for what looked to be an easy WA victory, but some last touches and dropped ball kept Northern Territory in the game and the WA supporters on edge. But again their defence held firm, and they setup a rendezvous with NSW Country on Day 4.

Day 4 – Grand Final – Loss 24-0 – NSW Country
In what was a bridge too far on the final day for WA, they simply were beaten by a better side. NSW Country took control of the game midway through the first half on the back of a great solo effort from their fullback and never looked back. Injuries didn’t help the ladies from the west but they never gave up and walked away with their heads held high. In an amazing effort, they added a runners up medal to their winners trophy from 2021, and will looked to get the trophy back in 2023


Utility Value
The ability to play different positions is a massive strength amongst our female group. Mahinarangi Clair, who is a lock at club, plays hooker for state. Anneka Stephens, a noted lock, had to push to cover a lost half. Elle Warren can play anywhere in the backline, and the class of Huia Swannell shows up no matter where she plays.

Power Game
Western Australia were the bully team in the Women’s National Championship. With big mobile forwards, along with big and fast outside runners, the size all over the field was too much to handle for most of the teams. Ariana Hira-Herangi and Arnika Cave were hard to stop out wide, and Swannell, Wall and Matoe were absolute hurricanes out wide. Add in Ravatudei, Butler and the tight running half in Turner, the WA side was incredible hard to stop.

Mix Of Veteran and Youth
A very important part of the group going forward was the adding of some youth. While missing a couple of older heads, the emergence of Cave, Toa-Amoa and Spence were crucial to the state team moving forward. Along with outside backs King and Ruru-Hinaki, it allows the next generation of players to star both at the state and club level. Its exciting times ahead.

For player and staff pictures of the team please visit

From all of the team at NRL WA, we would like to thank the ladies and their staff for their efforts and look forward to them back for a bigger and better 2023.