After eleven games, six teams have dropped to the best two, and it’s time for the 2017 women’s World Cup Final; New Zealand Kiwi Ferns vs Australian Jillaroos.

They’ve played each other several times this year already, and have a feirce rivalry that goes through many levels, competitions and matches. This game looks to be no exception, and will be fantastic show of talent in women’s rugby league.

They haven’t played each other in the World Cup yet, but earlier in the year Australia won 2-1 at the Auckland 9s, and won the ANZAC test. The Jillaroos will be hungry to stay on top, while the Ferns will badly want a win.

The Teams

Australia
The Jillaroos are a tough team to play, with dominance right across the field. Their backline is tough, quick and agile, and dangerous when they click. On the other hand their forward pack is rough, physical and hard to contain.

The Jillaroos have named a strong side for the grand final journey, despite missing Sam Bremner due to injury and Maddie Studdon and Talesha Quinn surprisingly not being named after strong campaigns. Simaima Taufa is back in the starting line up this game after starting off the bench in the semi final. Chelsea Barker has replaced Meg Ward in the centre.

The Ferns will be watching for a few key players to contain if they want to win. Forwards Kezie Apps, Siona Taufa and Ruan Sims will have to have their metres limited to stop them from breaking the line. They’ll have to watch for the plays set up by halves Maddie Studdon, Caitlin Moran and Ali, which are dynamic and dangerous. In the backline, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Isabelle Kelly and Chelsea Barker will have to be stopped at the line, because their speed is hard to match after line breaks.

Maddie Studdon runs the ball during one of the 2017 Auckland 9s test matches

New Zealand

The Ferns are an example of classic rugby league done to perfection, with barging forwards and nimble backs who do their jobs to perfection.

New Zealand have named a similar team to that of their successful semi final. The only changes are the inclusion of Amber Kani on the bench, and the swapping of Lileta Maumau and Aieshaleigh Smalley in the front and second row.

The Jillaroos will also have to be watching certain players on their opposition. Winger Honey Hireme has had a blinder so far this World Cup, making above average metres every game, and scoring and setting up many of her teams tries. Forwards Aieshaleigh Smalley, Teuila Fotu-Moala and Hilda Peters will need to be contained to prevent them breaking the defence, which will be a physical battle. The left edge attack of Honey Hireme and Maitua Feterika has also been greatly dominate during the campaign, so Australia will have to watch for its quick plays.

Prediction

This could quite possibly be the women’s rugby league game of the year. The two teams who are officially the top in the world, playing what will be a talented, quick and physical game. While both teams have been undefeated, exceeded expectations and been brilliant in their campaign, I can’t see the Jillaroos breaking their winning streak. They have talent spread right across the field and on the bench, do the little things well and can change their game with ease. If they control the ball and keep out of their end of the field, they can win by 10+.

 

Team Lists

Jillaroos

1. Nakia Davis-Welsh
2. Karina Brown
3. Corban McGreggor
4. Isabelle Kelly
5. Chelsea Baker
6. Ally Brigginshaw
7. Caitlin Moran
8. Steph Hancock
9. Brittany Breayley
10. Heather Ballinger
11. Renae Kunst
12. Kezie Apps
13. Simaima Taufa
14. Elianna Walton
15. Ruan Sims
16. Lavina O’Mealy
17. Zahara Temara
18. Annette Brander
19. Meg Ward

 

Kiwi Ferns

1. Apii Nicholls- Pualau
2. Atawhai Tupaea
3. Maitua Feterika
4. Shontelle Woodman
5. Honey Hireme
6. Raecene McGreggor
7. Kimiora Nati
8. Lileta Maumau
9. Krystal Rota
10. Aieshaleigh Smalley
11. Teuila Fotu Moala
12. Hilda Peters
13. Laura Mariu
14. Nita Maynard
15. Krystal Murray
16. Ngatokotoru Arakua
17. Amber Kani