World Cup Wednesdays: Jillaroos lift World title

Each Wednesday in the build up the 2021 Rugby League World Cups, we will have a special feature as we build up to the biggest ever World Cup in the game’s history looking at those who helped create the legacy and who will be aiming to make their own history this Autumn.

In our first edition, we go back to the summer of 2013 when the Australian Jillaroos lifted the World title for the first time in the fourth Women’s World Cup at Emerald Headingley.

Unprecedented growth in women’s rugby league, an ever-increasing talent pool and an insatiable fan thirst means the 2021 tournament set to be bigger and better than ever!  

In a watershed moment for the women’s game, every match will be broadcast live on BBC platforms, projected across the globe and promoted to a new generation of players. 

England 2021 will see eight teams compete over 18 days, culminating in a massive weekend of finals where Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair nations will be crowned Rugby League World Cup Champions.

The opening Women’s match will take place at Emerald Headingley Stadium on Tuesday 9 November in what will be a thrilling game between England and Brazil.

The Men’s and Women’s finals will take place on the same day, in the same stadium, Old Trafford on Saturday 27 November.

Back in 2013, Australian side were looking to end the Kiwis dominance of the tournament. New Zealand had won the meeting between the two sides in the pool stages but Australia gained revenge in the Final and dedicated their victory to former Rhinos Head Coach Graham Murray.

Murray, who had an illustrious coaching career at Illawarra, Hunter Mariners, Leeds, Sydney Roosters and North Queensland, had been in charge of the Jillaroos in the lead up to World Cup.

However, he was forced to hand over the duties to Paul Dyer – a member of the Broncos coaching staff – after suffering heart problems before the tournament in England. Sadly, Murray did not recover and passed away later in the month.

“This was a true team effort by all 23 players,” Dyer said. “We never gave up against a bigger and stronger team, and in the end, wore them down with brilliant defence.

“We dedicate this win to Graham Murray, our former coach, who was struck down with illness just prior to the World Cup campaign.”

In a no-holds-barred contest, with Samantha Hammond and Jenni Sue Hoepper prominent, the Aussies saved their best until last to triumph.

Australia Head Coach Paul Dyer was overjoyed at the outcome. “It feels amazing, all the hard work the girls have put in leading up to this World Cup has paid off,” he commented.

“We had 23 players who came across here to England and they have all got the job done.”

It was New Zealand who started the game strongly when a 40/20 put them in great field position in the opening few minutes.

Sharnita Woodman took advantage when she forced her way over from the play the ball to claim the opening try.

However, Australia were quick to respond when a penalty for a high tackle gave them another set of six in the Kiwis 20 metre area.

Expansive handling saw Hoepper uncovered on the wing and she was able to sneak over in the corner for an uncoverted try.

Shortly after there was a case of de-ja-vu when New Zealand got a penalty close to Australia’s line for holding down and Charlotte Arnopp-Scanlan was able to find a gap in the green and gold defence.

New Zealand dominated the next 20 minutes and came close to scoring again at least three times – Honey Hireme a constant threat – but on each occasion the Australian defence just pushed them into touch.

Close to half time, an over excited New Zealand defence were too quick to come out of their line to pick up a loose carry and gave Australia another penalty.

A superb pass out to the wing opened up a gap for Australia and with the overlap, Tarah Westera was able to dive over to make it 8-8 going into half time.

After a tough opening 10 minutes of the second period, there was very little between the teams until New Zealand picked up a loose ball as a result of a misdirected pass.

Back in control, the Kiwis passing drew the Australian defence out of position and Aimee Gilbert was able to find the gap to put New Zealand back in the lead. Again, though, Geneva Webber missed the shot at goal.

Australia managed to quickly make up for their error and turned it around from the kick off when Hoepper made a fantastic, jinking break up the middle from the half way line.

As she was about to be caught, she unleashed a sensational pass to Hammond who gleefully went over, Ali Briggenshaw converting.

The Aussies kept up their new found momentum and, soon after, Heather Ballinger stretched out to reach just over the line between the posts, giving the Jillaroos a lead they never lost.

Victory was secured when they were awarded a penalty in front of the posts and Briggenshaw easily claimed the two points with her third successful kick.

1.Samantha Hammond 22. Emma Tonegato 3. Jenni Sue Hoepper 4. Joanna Burrett 5. Jessica Palmer 6. Ali Brigginshaw 7. Karyn Murphy 8. Stephanie Hancock 9. Nat Dwyer 15. Heather Ballinger 20. Alex Sulust 12. Renae Kunst 13. Tahnee Norris
Substitutes: 14. Julie Youngs 17. Ruan Simms 16. Ellanna Walton 23. Tarah Westera
Tries: Hoepper, Westera, Hammond, Ballinger
Goals: Briggenshaw 3/5

2. Sarina Fiso 20. Geneva Webber 3. Honey Hireme 12. Lisa Campbell 5. Karley Te Kana 18. Nora Maaka 7. Rona Peters 16. Charlotte Arnopp-Scanlan 9. Sharnita Woodman 10. Ana Tuia-Pereira 11. Kathleen Keremete 13. Akenese Pereira 14. Kahurangi Peters
Substitutes: 24. Kelly Maipi 19. Simone Panapa 15. Aimee Gilbert 17. Amber Hall
Tries: Woodman, Arnopp-Scanlan, Gilbert

Half-time: 8-8
Player of the match: AUSTRALIA – Samantha Hammond NEW ZEALAND – Sharnita Woodman
Referee: Peter Brooke  


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