GP Sirens tune up Rockers Athletic Club

Grande Prairie Sirens player Spencer Diederich in Edmonton Rugby Union Women’s Division 2 action against the Rockers Athletic Club on Saturday afternoon at Macklin Field. The Sirens improved to 3-1 on the season with a 29-15 win over the Edmonton based Rockers. The Sirens have the weekend off. Gordon Anderson / Daily Herald Tribune

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The Grande Prairie Sirens picked up a hotly contested victory over the weekend.

The club earned a 29-15 win over Rockers Athletic Club in Edmonton Rugby Union (ERU) Women’s Division 2 play at Macklin Field on Saturday afternoon.

“It was the first time we had a real, contested game,” Sirens Head Coach Fili Fai said. “ I think it was good for the girls. It was a good test. The Rockers brought their ‘A’ game. They were good and (it was) a good contest between teams.”

“It was a solid win and a very exciting win,” captain Annie Arsenault said post game. “In general, this would be our least favourite team to play (against) because they do have some dirty, older players who do know some tricks, what to do when the referee isn’t looking.”

There was no love on the other side, either. In their post-game pep talk the northwest Edmonton club was less than complimentary towards the Sirens, talking among themselves about the dirty play from the locals.

“It can be very frustrating (to play them) and that’s what makes the win that much sweeter,” Arsenault said. “(They) can go ahead and be dirty, we’re just going to out play (them) and that’s we did. That’s the most satisfying win we could have.”

Arsenault scored two tries. The first one gave the club a 5-0 lead and the last one closed out the scoring in the fourth quarter.

After an inspiring try by second-year Bianca Fafard, the Sirens owned a 12-point lead early in the third quarter but the Rockers responded with two tries of their own, only to miss both conversions. The lead was cut to 17-15 for the locals and the momentum seemed to change.

After the second Rockers try the Sirens held a meeting in north endzone and talked about the disturbing turns of events at the time.

The club responded with the next two tries to give the themselves a third win of the season in four games.

“I just said ‘don’t let them back in the game,’” Fai said. “We were lacking on defence and we were letting them (get into the gaps). I was making sure we looked after the ball. You have to protect it, and when it’s clear, we’re clear to use it and send it out (with a purpose) instead of just throwing it around. You can’t do that against a team like the Rockers.”

Moving on up 

With the way the ERU women’s standings are shaping up, the Sirens appear to be on their way to a premier division promotion but the rugby league doesn’t seem to have all the details ironed out with regards the promotion.

It’s pure conjecture at this point but the Sirens may lose the remainder of their home games if the promotion occurs. They may have to play ‘home’ games in Edmonton. There’s also budget details to be worked out as it will cost the club more money for hotel and transportation costs.

On the athletic side, it appears there’s has good shot to win a Division 2 title for the Sirens. If they went to the premier league, what happens to them from a competitive balance perspective?

For the record, Fai is all for the promotion idea saying, “I think it’s good for the women’s competition, if this scheduling (works).”

“Playing against harder teams is going to raise our level,” Arsenault added. “If we play against teams we can easily beat we’re not going to develop as a team as much as we need to. If we end in the first division we’ll take on the challenge about what that means to play against that calibre of team.”

Yeah, but what about a Division 2 title? Surely the team has a chance to win one.

“Whatever the outcome is, if we go up or we stay down, we still have to win games,” Arsenault said. “I don’t have a problem going up. Some of the teams in Division I, we’ve played them before. We go up, we go up. If we stay down, the best team wins.”

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