There is a reason that many in the Canberra rugby league community see Payge-Louise Condon as one of the premier players in the Katrina Fanning Shield.
The crafty Queanbeyan hooker put on a clinic at Raiders Belconnen on Saturday morning, kicking off the inaugural Katrina Fanning Shield magic round in style.
She was able to score twice while converting eight, leading the Blues to a thumping 60-0 win over the UC Stars.
The impressive performance from both the dummy half and her teammates suited the magic round occasion, a true festival of women's rugby league in the first event of its kind in the region.
After tight losses to fellow front runners Yass Magpies and Woden Valley Rams, the Blues have been determined to prove to the competition why they should still be seen as premiership heavyweights.
The side have undoubtedly done that, scoring 130 points in the past two rounds whilst conceding zero. Condon herself has added 54 of those points, demonstrating why she currently sits on top of the competition's best and fairest list.
Queanbeyan assistant coach Darren Williams was pleased with how his Blues played, believing that they found their way after an admittedly slow start to the match.
He was also especially impressed with Condon's performance, seeing her as a vital asset for the club moving forward into the finals.
"It was a very good run. They lost their way in the first few minutes while they weren't following their structure, but once they got back onto it, they were rolling pretty well down the field," he said.
"Payge is a very smart footballer. Not only does she control our play but her defence in the middle really strengthens everything as well.
"Add to that her kicking game and she is essentially the full package for us."
After COVID had delayed the initial magic round pre-pandemic, it was wet weather that played spoiler earlier this season. Williams was pleased that it had finally all come together.
"It is a great concept. We were meant to do it a few years ago but it all fell through because of COVID," he said.
"To have all of the sides out here has been really good."
Despite the scoreboard, UC Stars coach Mick Kociolek was pleased with how his side played, proud that the team gave 100 per cent for the entire 60 minutes.
While "fundamental errors" plagued his side throughout the match, he was happy they were able to showcase their talents in front of a large magic round crowd.
He was however disappointed that the event wasn't what it could have been, with two of the four matches forfeited.
"I think it is a great concept for the game," he said.
"It should be a great pathway for the Raiders to see some of these girls heading into their season I believe."
Both the Queanbeyan Blues and the UC Stars will have next weekend off with a bye, resting up before the final three rounds of the regular season.
Their next opponents after the break will be familiar, with the pair scheduled to face off again in round 12 at Seiffert Oval.
AT A GLANCE
Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup First Grade: West Belconnen Warriors 22 bt Belconnen United Sharks 18; Queanbeyan Blues 54 bt Gungahlin Bulls 24; Goulburn City Bulldogs 36 bt Yass Magpies 24; Tuggeranong Bushrangers 30 d Woden Valley Rams 16.
Blumers Lawyers Katrina Fanning Shield: Queanbeyan Blues 60 bt UC Stars 0; Tuggeranong Bushrangers 38 bt Harden Worhawks 4.
Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup Reserve Grade: West Belconnen Warriors 40 bt Belconnen United Sharks 10; Gungahlin Bulls 34 bt Queanbeyan Blues 22; Yass Magpies 20 bt Goulburn City Bulldogs 16; Tuggeranong Bushrangers 26 bt Woden Valley Rams 10.
Blumers Lawyers U19s: Queanbeyan Blues 16 bt Gungahlin Bulls 4; Woden Valley Rams 34 bt Tuggeranong Bushrangers 14; Belconnen United Sharks 70 bt Cootamundra Bulldogs 0.
Blumers Lawyers Canberra Raiders Cup Ladies League Tag: Woden Valley Rams 72 bt Tuggeranong Bushrangers 0, West Belconnen Warriors 2 bt Belconnen United Sharks 0, Gungahlin Bulls 42 bt Queanbeyan Blues 8.
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