Gunnedah women's 7s coach John Hickey says they have still got some work to do but believes the reigning premiers certainly have potential to again challenge for the silverware
The Red Devils underlined that at Saturday's gala day in Bingara winning both of their games and knocking off the top two in the process.
After pipping Inverell 15-14 they then accounted for competition leaders Pirates 15-10.
Having basically had to start from scratch this season after losing a lot of players, to particularly AFL, not playing last year, the Red Devils are starting to hit their straps.
They have now doubled up at three of the four gala days introduced for the second round, and won seven of their eight games.
"I still believe we're building," Hickey said.
"We've got more in us."
Especially as a team they have "got more to go".
Individually a lot of them "have come a long way".
He was "very happy" with the Saturday's result having set out to win both games.
"We wanted to prove we're capable of matching it with the best of them," he said.
The win over Inverell was made all the better for the fact that they were a player down, due to a yellow card, for part of the game.
Against Pirates, Hickey thought they had the better of them for most of the game, a try to Claudia Nielsen on the hooter bringing the final margin back to five points.
Asked what most impressed him about the performance on Saturday, the veteran mentor pointed to the character they showed.
"I was really impressed with their fight, that ability to get up and make the next tackle," he said.
He added: "We've got some things to work on but I believe we can definitely challenge for the premiership again."
"My best seven can match it with everyone. It's about me making my 10, 12 or 14 girls rise to that standard as well."
The Highlanders and Pirates both went on to win their second games with the Highlanders edging out Narrabri 10-7 while Pirates defeated Barraba 36-nil.
Martha Harvey was one of the stars the day, the Narrabri teen scoring all six of the Blue Boars tries' including five in their 25-5 win over Barraba.
With two gala days to come - at Pirates this Saturday and Narrabri to coincide with the final round - Pirates (65) hold an eight point lead over the second-placed Highlanders. The Red Devils (50) are then third followed by Narrabri (44) and Barraba (17).
Women's 7s results
Gunnedah 15 (B. Smyth, P. Lawrence, S.Lickorish tries) d Inverell 14 (Tries: L. Reardon, A. Griffiths tries, L. Reardon, A. Griffiths cons)
Narrabri 25 (M. Harvey (5) tries) d Barraba 5 (N. Phillpott try)
Gunnedah 15 (B. Smyth, E. O'Donnell, P. Lawrence tries) d Pirates 10 (S. Partridge, C. Nielsen tries)
Inverell 10 (I. Reardon, L. Reardon tries) d Narrabri 7 (M. Harvey try, Z. Tomlinson con)
Pirates 36 (S. Partridge (2), C. Nielsen, A. Colless, B. Size (2) tries, S. Partridge, C. Nielsen, B. Size cons) d Barraba 0
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