Grace Hamilton's Waratahs are crowned Super W champions for third consecutive season

IT did not come in the fashion she would have liked, but Panuara rugby star Grace Hamilton was still delighted to have her Waratahs crowned the 2020 Super W champions.

LEADER: Panuara rugby star Grace Hamilton captained the Waratahs to a third consecutive Super W title. Photo: KAYE GRIESHABER

LEADER: Panuara rugby star Grace Hamilton captained the Waratahs to a third consecutive Super W title. Photo: KAYE GRIESHABER

Under Hamilton's captaincy, the Waratahs had gone undefeated through four round-robin games and booked a spot in the grand final.

But the coronavirus pandemic forced the competition into shutdown before the finals series began.

It was hoped they would be played in late May - the ACT Brumbies and Queensland Reds to battle it out to see who would join the Waratahs in the decider.

But late Friday afternoon Rugby Australia confirmed those games would not go ahead.

As the minor premiers, the Waratahs were declared the Super W champions. It extended NSW's remarkable record in the competition to three straight undefeated premierships.

"It's a bitter-sweet kind of thing, we won the minor premiership, so I think that's more what we are celebrating than winning a grand final," Hamiton said.

"But it's a good place to be in given the current conditions even though it's not the ideal way to do it.

"It is a pretty special achievement, we have that mentality that we have to win and that also gives us confidence when we go into our games."

While Hamilton had participated in the Waratahs' previous campaigns and was a key member of the line-up, this season things were a little different.

Following the retirement of Ash Hewson, this year Hamilton captained the side.

The number 8 finished in the competition's top five for defenders beaten, offloads and carries, while she relished the chance to foster the Waratahs' emerging talents as well.

The squad included a number of new faces such as Forbes' Lillyann Mason-Spice.

"It was exciting just to be given that opportunity and it was such a fresh group of girls," Hamilton said.

"It was such a nice environment, it's probably one of the best rugby environments I'd been in. There were people there that didn't let stuff get in their way, they were always fighting and giving 110 percent.

"That's the best thing about that generation coming through, that they are just going to give 110 percent to everything they do. It's so nice to see."

This season the Waratahs posted wins over the Melbourne Rebels (33-3), ACT Brumbies (41-8), fierce rivals the Queensland Reds (13-10) and RugbyWA (44-0).

But as impressive as that run was, Hamilton felt the Waratahs did not produce their finest rugby. It was something she'd hoped they could do in the final.

"We hadn't played our best rugby yet this season, I don't think we'd gotten there, and that's why we were so excited to play in the final," she said.

"We wanted that to be our best game, we knew that we could make that better than any other game we played.

"Even though we were undefeated, we just weren't there, the best was yet to come for us I think. So we've just got to hold that kind of mentality going into next year now.

"So I really wanted to play, really disappointed that we don't get to finish. So for us as a Waratahs group we just have to focus on 2021 now."

This story Hamilton says Waratahs' Super reward is 'bitter-sweet' first appeared on Western Advocate.