Grande Prairie Sirens fly-half Sarah Palfy (shown here in Sirens green) is heading to Wolfville, N.S. in August to tryout for the Acadia Axewomen’s rugby team. Currently, the Sexsmith resident is suiting up with the Sirens in Edmonton Rugby Union Women’s Division 1 play. Palfy was in action during Saturday’s 58-5 loss to the Leprechaun Tigers at Macklin Field.
Gordon Anderson / Daily Herald-Tribune
The Grande Prairie Sirens must have pushed the entire Leprechaun Tigers rugby team on to the yellow school bus with one collective shove, pushing them out of town until next year.The visiting Tigers picked up a 58-5 win over the locals in Edmonton Rugby Union Women’s Division 1 play at Macklin Field on Saturday afternoon.The Sirens have matched up with the Tigers three times this year—once before the promotion to the higher division—and twice in Division 1. In total, the Tigers have outscored the locals 107-10 in both Division 1 games.“It was interesting (while I was standing on the sidelines) I heard a gentleman from their club speaking with someone from our club and they can see we’re a young team, it’s clear we’re young and with youth comes inexperience,” Sirens Captain Annie Arsenault said. “We’ve (talked about it before). The gentleman also mentioned that back in the first year they stepped up to the higher division they didn’t win a game for that season. That comes with the territory of stepping up.”Arsenault admitted it’s frustrating because the club wants to be in win-now mode. But looking at the Leps, the way they play, the experience and poise they play with, maybe the Sirens can get there one day and that’s something the club can inspire to.“It helps in the aftermath when discussing and reflecting back on the game, as a team,” Arsenault said. “It’s easy to get down and think, as a team, ‘All we do is lose. We’re getting our butts kicked and this and this and this.’ When you look at all the factors that go into it, it’s not quite as devastating as it feels because it’s a rite of passage.”The captain makes an appearanceArsenault returned to limited action on Saturday after a three-week layoff. The captain picked up a Medial Collateral Ligament injury during the second half of a July 6 game versus the Leps. The captain played 20 minutes in the second half with a black brace on her knee.“Aside from being out of breath, my knee felt fine,” Arsenault said.Acadia boundSirens first-year fly-half Sarah Palfy will be heading to Acadia University in Wolfville, N.S., later next month, with every intention of earning a roster spot on the Acadia Axewomen’s rugby team.The Sexsmith High School Sabres graduate will fly out on Aug. 21, with training camp two days later. Even though she has chatted with Axewomen’s head coach Matt Durant, she is technically a walk-on.“She’s a very athletic young lady with great abilities to make big tackles when they’re needed, she’s really good defensively with hands and speed for the offence,” Arsenault said. “When she goes to Acadia, and gets some more games and experience under her belt, if we’re able to have her back next year, I’m sure her playing will have improved ten-fold. Right now, she’s doing a lot of really good things for being a young girl.”Palfy has played four games for the locals this season, starting when the club made the jump to Division 1 play at the start of July.“(Sirens Head Coach Fili) Fai has been on me since when I was too young to play and I think it’s a really good transition to go from high school to university rather than have that massive gap,” Palfy said. “This way, I get some experience in some higher calibre rugby.”Back in May, Sabres high school rugby Head Coach Mike Lauzon called Palfy a “heat-seeking missile” because the No. 10 player loves to tackle. In the ERU women’s game, she enjoys the physical side just as much. Either way, she’s noticed the difference in physicality compared to the high school game.“The tackling is really similar and I don’t’ have a problem with it but I have noticed getting tackled is different as I am being hit properly,” Palfy said. “My first game I got levelled three times where I was like, ‘OK, this is a little different.’ That side of things makes you keep your head and up and be prepared for it. Once you prepare for it, it’s pretty much the same.”