Despite being well beaten in their final game of the season the Tasman Mako women’s side have made “massive strides”, according to head coach Chris Binns.
Tasman were beaten 64-10 by the Otago Spirit side in a Farah Palmer Cup championship semifinal at Dunedin’s Forsyth Barr Stadium on Saturday.
Binns said that while his charges had not played to their full potential they had come up against a very good side, who he feels will go on to take out the title.
Otago had too much pace out wide for Tasman and scored five first-half tries to lead 35-0, then added another touchdown soon after the break.
Tasman then managed to build some pressure of their own and were rewarded with two second half tries, to Sydnee Wilkins and Rebecca Kersten.
Otago first five-eighth Rosie Kelly had a big game, scoring two tries and drilled seven conversions in a 24-point haul.
For Tasman, debutante Jess Harvey, just 16, impressed off the bench, as did the propping duo of Louise Nalder and Paris Hart, plus loose forward Hannah Beech also turned in a solid shift.
Winger Kersten was outstanding, as was Wilkins and midfielder Jess Drummond.
Binns suggested his side may have played their semi-final the previous week, when they beat North Harbour in a quarterfinal.
“That meant a lot to them, to actually make the semi, and maybe today was just a step too far, at the moment.
“We were a little flat to start with and built into the game, but we were well and truly outplayed.”
The loss of key players Wai Greig and Pippa Andrews through injury did not help Tasman’s cause but their team mates stepped up.
“They were naturally disappointed to lose today but are a really good bunch and the most were happy with their season,” said Binns.
“We have made some massive strides this year, now the challenge for us as a management group is to put some planning in place that allows them to take bigger steps next year.”
A major plus for the Tasman side was the opportunity to play under the roof at Forsyth Barr. “The girls loved that,” he added.
“The facilities were amazing, it’s not every day that you get to play in such a facility.”
Otago 64 Tasman 10 (Sydnee Wilkins, Rebecca Kersten). HT: 35-0.