Blues captain Eloise Blackwell says her side's defeat to the Chiefs in the maiden New Zealand women's Super Rugby match at Eden Park proves the female game deserves proper investment.
The Chiefs comfortably upstaged the Blues, putting away their neighbours 39-12, but in many ways the result was secondary to giving women in this country a Super Rugby platform to aspire to.
"It's been pretty surreal, such a special occasion, and definitely long overdue," Blackwell said.
"You would have seen the calibre of players, the matchups across both teams, people want to see that. There's a lot of growth in our game and people are really getting behind us so it was an awesome occasion to showcase our abilities and put a stake in the ground and say that we are worthy of investing in, and we can produce good rugby."
In an historic, competitive contest featuring seven tries, big hits and plenty of feeling, the Chiefs emerged deserved victors to claim the Waipuea Women's Rugby Taonga for the first time.
Chiefs captain Les Elder scored one of her side's five tries and beamed with pride after the team's families presented their jerseys in the morning.
"Just to be here playing a Super game on Eden Park is pretty special," Elder said. "It's something some of us girls who have been around a long time have been wanting and pushing for so to see that happen was pretty cool.
"We made a goal we didn't just want to be in history we wanted to create it so I'm proud of the effort the girls put out there. It just shows what we could create if we were resourced."
A match that brought together 16 Black Ferns, eight on each team, drew a healthy crowd on Saturday evening prior to the men's dead-rubber fixture in the final round of Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The occasion was a long time coming for New Zealand rugby's female athletes, one they will remember fondly for many years to come. The hope and expectation now is this landmark moment will build momentum through to the creation of a fully-fledged women's Super Rugby competition from next year, though Elder cautioned against compromising the established provincial Farah Palmer Cup which promotes a greater talent pool.
"We don't want to rush into something and have it effect Farah Palmer Cup," Elder said. "It is something that needs to be tabled properly and all scenarios laid out.
"We've got an opportunity to not have to mimic the men's game and we can be quite innovative in that space. How we do that I'm not too sure but I hope the people at the table who are making the decisions are considering that."
A convincing Chiefs victory will vindicate the many sacrifices players and coaches made, with some travelling up to seven hours on return trips for trainings, which were fitted around day-job commitments.
The Chiefs led 18-12 at halftime and pushed further clear following their second rolling maul try to hooker Luka Connor.
Elder finished the job, stretching out to score after linking round the front of the lineout, and powerful centre Ngatokotoru Arakua bagged the Chiefs' fifth try to seal the blowout.
After starting well, the Blues will be disappointed after being held scoreless in the second half.
Counties playmaker Hazel Tubic proved influential in controlling the match for the Chiefs. Tubic kicked superbly, too, slotting 14 points which included three sideline conversions.
Conversely young Blues first five-eighth Patricia Maliepo didn't have a happy night off the tee – missing three of her four strikes - but she can always lay claim to scoring New Zealand's first women's Super Rugby try after regathering her grubber kick to crash over within the opening 10 minutes.
The Chiefs quickly responded, however, with a seriously slick try. Chiefs No 8 Kennedy Simon, one of the game's standouts, sparked the counter attack from 60 meters out. Simon challenged the line and offloaded to wing Langi Vaeinu, who skinned Maleipo who was defending in the backfield.
Chiefs blindside Kendra Reynolds struck next from a rolling maul to extend the advantage.
The Blues had their chances but hooker Te Kura Ngata Aerengamate struggled with her throwing – two going wayward in the first half, one 10 metres from the Chiefs line. The Blues lineout didn't get any better in the second spell, either, and they lacked clinical execution when the ventured into the Chiefs 22.
The Chiefs brought more aggression and urgency to their work at the breakdown to snaffle several turnovers.
Midfielder Sylvia Brunt, one of eight teenagers in the Blues team, showcased her skills with a beautiful in and away and fend to beat two defenders and carry one more across the line to pull her side back within three points.
Tubic had the final say of the half, though, knocking over a penalty for the six-point halftime lead, one the Chiefs consistently built in the second spell.
In the end the Chiefs were a cut above the Blues but this should be the first instalment of a fierce rivalry.
Chiefs 39 (Langi Vaeinu, Kendra Reynolds, Luka Connor, Les Elder, Ngatokotoru Arakua tries; Hazel Tubic 4 cons, 2 pens)
Blues 12 (Patricia Maliepo, Sylvia Brunt tries; Maleipo con)