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Saturday, January 16, 2021

Duo start in season opener

Two Hunter representatives lined up for the NSW Waratahs women’s team in its dominant 26-0 win over ACT Brumbies at GIO Stadium in Canberra.

Maya Stewart made her debut at just 18 years of age on the wing during the Super W season opener on Saturday, while Katrina Barker played beside her in the centres.

Both players hail from The Waratahs in the Newcastle and Hunter Rugby Union (NHRU) competition.

NHRU president, Bill Clifton, said the duo played exceptionally well in a trial match earlier this month after being selected in the state squad late last year.

“Their selection shows the strength of the NHRU women’s competition and that local players can make it to the top,” he said.

“Maya and Katrina have trained extremely well since late last year and it is no surprise that the NSW selectors have named them in the run-on team.”

Stewart was one of 10 debutants for the defending premiers, with Barker making her third appearance.

The star-studded NSW side cruised to victory on the back of a double to Grace Hamilton and further tries to Sera Naiqama and dual-international fullback Mahalia Murphy.

Stewart and Barker’s selections follow the inclusion of Hunter product, Harry Johnson-Holmes, as the first-choice prop in the NSW men’s team.

Johnson-Holmes, who played for the Wanderers prior to a move to Sydney, made 17 appearances off the bench last season before being named in the Waratahs’ First XV for the opening round 20-19 loss to the Hurricanes.

He also started in Saturday’s clash against Japan in Tokyo.

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