'We can beat Queensland': Brumbies women rally for massive Reds battle
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'We can beat Queensland': Brumbies women rally for massive Reds battle

ACT Brumbies women's coach Adam Butt says his team's title credentials will go on the line when they make a mad dash to Queensland to keep their finals hopes alive.

The Brumbies will fly to Brisbane on Saturday morning and play just hours later in a less-than-ideal preparation for their clash against the Reds at Ballymore.

Georgia O'Neill will start at openside flanker for the Brumbies.

Georgia O'Neill will start at openside flanker for the Brumbies.Credit:Rugby AU Media/Stuart Walmsley

The match looms as a make or break contest in the short Super W campaign, with each team playing just four regular season matches and a top-three advancing to the play-offs.

But captain Shellie Milward says the Brumbies will draw confidence from beating their heavily-favoured rivals in the former national championship format before the Super W competition was formed.

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Queensland and NSW have traditionally been the strongest women's sides, leaving the Brumbies, Western Australia and Melbourne to fight for the last finals spot.

"Our motivation isn't to close the gap, it's just to beat them," Milward said.

"Closing the gap would be nice, but coming away with a win is our main goal. [Hooker Louise Burrows] had a chat to the girls [at training] just reminding them we have beaten [Queensland] three years in a row back then.

"They are beatable. They carry a stigma with them a lot of the time with NSW, but you've just got to break that. They are only human, and if we pressure them, just like anyone else, they will break."

The Brumbies are riding high after beating the Melbourne Rebels 69-0 at Seiffert Oval two weeks ago. Butt has made a handful of changes after flyhalf Claudia Obst injured her knee and was ruled out for the season.

Teenager Claudia Obst will miss the rest of the Super W season.

Teenager Claudia Obst will miss the rest of the Super W season.Credit:Elesa Kurtz

Veteran Carly Hill will take the chief playmaker reins, while Darcy Read gets her opportunity to start on the wing.

"Everyone has written us off, we're happy with that," Butt said. "This week we show whether we're pretenders or contenders, and that's up to us to show if we're up to it.

"I think we are. Queensland have been dominant so far and I'm sure they are out to prove they are the top dog."

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The Brumbies' finals hopes, however, will likely hinge on a last-round showdown with Rugby WA in Perth next week.

Milward was confident Hill could pull the strings from flyhalf after being convinced to join the Super W campaign for the first time this year.

"She found her feet in the first game and I'm sure she's ready to go for this one," Milward said of her Tuggeranong ViQueens teammate.

"She's one of the best No. 10s I've played with, so I can't wait to see her out there. She had her first child [two years ago] so a bit of family time for her and this is her first season at this level.

"I'm excited to see her play ... it didn't take much convincing to get her to play. She cracked pretty easily and the success of Super W ... it has lured her and a lot of other girls back to the game."

SUPER W ROUND FOUR

Saturday: Queensland women v ACT Brumbies women at Ballymore, 6pm.

Brumbies: 1. Violeta Tupuola, 2. Louise Burrows, 3. Peta Cox, 4. Emily Sogal, 5. Shellie Milward, 6. Michaela Leonard, 7. Georgia O'Neill, 8. Tayla Stanford, 9. Remi Wilton, 10. Carly Hill, 11. Brooke Gilroy, 12. Sammi Wood, 13. Michelle Perry, 14. Darcy Read, 15. Rachael Crothers. Reserves: 16. Harriet Elleman, 17. Stefanie Stewart-Jones, 18. Anna Korovata, 19. Sammi Maxwell, 20. Sharyn Laws, 21. Jane Garraway, 22. Emily McDonald, 23. Biola Dawa.

    Chris Dutton is the sports editor at The Canberra Times.

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