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New Zealand

Jiraroux big favorite in World Cup final, but Kiwi Ferns doesn’t count

There have been many questions about the women’s tournament ahead of the 2021 Rugby League World Cup.

How has the Papua New Guinea run improved since it first appeared at RLWC in 2017?

After being flogged by New Zealand in 2017, have England’s women improved enough to seriously challenge Australia and New Zealand?

How far ahead was Australia compared to the rest of the world?

To reach the final, Australia’s Jillaroos convincingly beat the Orchids 82-0 and Kiwi Ferns defeated England 20-6.

Now we look forward to the final at Old Trafford between two of the most dominant women’s rugby league teams in the world.

Australia, unsurprisingly, are the favorites to advance to the final. They went through this RLWC undefeated and only New Zealand managed to score a point against a desperate and dominant Australian defense.

The Jillaroos also have one luxury that many other teams don’t.

From the start of this RLWC, Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said they needed all 24 women’s teams to win the RLWC. What that means is that Donald has arguably never named his strongest Jirarouze team in any game to date.

Instead, he had a deliberate plan to rest a group of players for the game in order to manage the extremely tight four-day turnaround required of all teams.

Incredibly, seven new players are included in the squad to play in the Finals, including Julia Robinson, Taryn Aitken, Kaitlan Johnston, Shannon Mato, Kezy Aprice and Simaima Taufa. It speaks to NRLW’s strength that Donald had the luxury of resting a player of this caliber in a semi-final where the Jillaroos were still dominating.

But as the Kiwi Ferns proved in the pool match between the two nations, they certainly won’t be an easy win, especially if Australia tries to lift the trophy in Manchester, managing three players. is needed.

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First up is Lacen McGregor, who has had an absolutely incredible year. Earlier this year, McGregor was without his NRLW contract for the 2021 NRLW season. All-Stars Although he played in the fixture, McGregor suffered an injury during his 2021 season which prevented him from participating in the originally scheduled 2021 season. She found her in good shape when she was put off, but without her contract.

She returned for the 2022 season with the Sydney Roosters and, along with Sam Bremner, was a major reason the team was so dominant during the regular season, and in recognition of her season she was awarded the 2022 Dally M medal. rice field.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

McGregor continued his form at this RLWC where he was named International Rugby League’s Golden Boot winner and International Player of the Year.

McGregor’s kicking game has been impressive throughout the tournament, and she’s almost always a part when the Ferns score points. In Farnes’ opening match against France, McGregor set up three tries and scored two of her own in the following match against the Cook Islands.

Of course, McGregor’s role becomes much easier when her forward dominates the play.

Enter Amber Hall.

Hall was one of Ferns’ strongest players and wreaked havoc on defenders throughout the tournament. Farnes hopes Hall will repeat the performance from his last match in the pool round against Australia, where he was awarded Player of the Match and finished with 164 running meters and 11 tackle breaks.

But the biggest surprise of the tournament came from Melehfwanga, a woman who pledged allegiance to rugby league 2023 just one week after RLWC. Hufanga has converted to rugby union and Bremner is no doubt still thinking about her one-on-one strip that led to Ferns scoring her second try in a pool match.

Mele Hufanga (Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images for RLWC)

Hufanga was huge for Ferns at this RLWC, having been named man of the match in the semi-final against England with a 185m run, 13 tackle breaks and a line break.

There are several other key battles on the field, such as between Isabel Kelly and Page McGregor, and fullbacks Appie Nichols and Bremner.

I’m flipping Jillaroos, but it’s close.

But the strength of these two nations shows how much women’s rugby league has improved since the NRLW’s inception. My hope is that during this RLWC, the NRLW coaches spent a lot of time watching athletes from other countries to see what they could do. made in australia.

This will not only strengthen the NRLW, but also create strong international players for the next RLWC in France in 2025.

https://www.theroar.com.au/2022/11/19/jillaroos-heavy-favourites-in-world-cup-final-but-dont-count-out-kiwi-ferns/ Jiraroux big favorite in World Cup final, but Kiwi Ferns doesn't count

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