Goannas to play Panorama Platypi in Western Women's Rugby League semi-final

ONE STEP AWAY: Goannas captain April Townsend will lead her side into Sunday's do-or-die finals clash with the Panorama Platypi. Picture: Carla Freedman

ONE STEP AWAY: Goannas captain April Townsend will lead her side into Sunday's do-or-die finals clash with the Panorama Platypi. Picture: Carla Freedman

They barely train, they've struggled to field the same side in back-to-back matches due to a COVID outbreak and a number of injuries, and after finishing fourth on the ladder they're meeting the minor premiers in this weekend's semi-final.

It seems there's a lot going against the Goannas heading into the do-or-die Western Women's Rugby League clash with the Panorama Platypi at Oberon on Sunday.

But one thing the side does have in its favour is what captain April Townsend describes as "a sisterhood".

Forbes-based Townsend and her sisters, Amy and Maggie, are part of a core group of Goannas who have been a part of the side for roughly five years now.

They've played in grand finals and produced some scintillating performances in that time but the fun and friendships stand out as a real highlight.

"I look forward to playing with the Goannas every year," Townsend said.

"It's like a sisterhood bond we've got together. It's so different to club footy, rugby or league tag.

"You turn up, play your guts out, have a laugh and then go home and look forward to the next week."

Those bonds also help on the field as the familiarity between the players compensates for the lack of training brought about by fielding a team with players from Dubbo, Forbes, Nyngan and elsewhere in the region.

"A lot of the other teams have been training for months because the competition got postponed (due to COVID) last year," Townsend said.

"Because of the geographics we just can't meet for training but we only need a couple of training runs.

"We all know how to play footy and that's the great things about our team. We play eyes up footy and it works because we've been in the finals every year.

"We've got so much talent in our team. It's a really strong side."

Townsend was one of the players struck down by COVID earlier in the year and that, along with a number of injuries, led the Goannas to forfeit their regular season match with the Platypi.

The Bathurst-based side is an unknown with a number of newcomers, many from a rugby union background, joining the club this season.

The Platypi have only dropped one game on the way to the finals while the Goannas produced their best performance of the season last weekend when defeating second-placed Woodbridge 22-16.

"Put it this way, if we beat Bathurst on the weekend I've got no doubt we'll go the whole way," Townsend said.

"This is the harder semi. Beating Woodbridge, that felt like a semi-final so this will feel a bit like a grand final."

The injury problems continue for the Goannas with props Cassie Toomey and Peta Powyer both set to miss Sunday's match.

Powyer missed last weekend's win over Woodbridge due to ankle complaint but should be fit for the final, if her side wins on Sunday.

The Goannas take on the Platypi from 2.30pm at the Oberon Showground on Sunday while the club's under 15s and under 17s have also made the finals.