Jillaroos v Kiwi Ferns
GIO Stadium, Canberra
7.25pm NZT, 5.25pm AEST
It’s the first chance in 12 months to see these two sides go at it in a 13-aside Test, and this fixture is always a highlight.
Australia come off the best result on the international stage after sweeping the Ferns 3-0 at the NRL Auckland Nines earlier this year, while New Zealand have a new coach ahead of the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup at the end of the year.
The Kiwi Ferns’ squad includes six Test newcomers Alexandra Cook, Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe, Corrina Whiley, Chrystal Tamarua, Madison Bartlett and Ngatokotoru Arakua.
Teams: Kiwi Ferns – Alexandra Cook, Annetta Nuuausala, Atawhai Tupaea, Bunty Kuruwaka-Crowe, Corrina Whiley, Crystal Tamarua, Georgia Hale, Hilda Peters, Krystal Rota, Langi Veainu, Laura Mariu, Lilieta Maumau, Madison Bartlett, Ngatokotoru Arakua, Nora Maaka, Sarina Fiso, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Va’anessa Molia-Fraser. Coach: Tony Benson.
Jillaroos – 1. Sam Bremner, 2. Karina Brown, 3. Corban McGregor, 4. Caitlin Moran, 5. Chelsea Baker, 6. Zahara Temara, 7. Simone Smith, 8. Ruan Sims, 9. Brittany Breayley, 10. Heather Ballinger, 11. Renae Kunst, 12. Annette Brander, 13. Simaima Taufu, 14. Ali Brigginshaw, 15. Rebecca Young, 16. Elliana Walton, 17. Amelia Kuk, 18. Maddie Studdon, 19. Isabelle Kelly, 20. Kody House. Coach: Brad Donald
Key players: Kiwi Ferns – Teuila Fotu-Moala. An important player anyway, coach Tony Benson has said that Fotu-Moala will play an even bigger role under his new game plan for the Ferns, with her powerful carries and ability to promote second-phase play fitting in well with the new style. Watch for her to cause some real damage down her corridor inside the attacking 20.
Jillaroos – Sam Bremner. The influential fullback was huge for Australia at the Nines, with her elusive running and vision for the game causing real issues for New Zealand. If the pack can win the middle battle then Bremner’s play from offloads and broken play will really become a factor in this one.
Last five head-to-head Tests: Kiwi Ferns 3; Jillaroos 2. New Zealand won the last 13-aside Test match, played this time last year, 26-16 in Newcastle. But the Jillaroos come off a dominant showing at the NRL Auckland Nines.
How to watch it: Live on Sky Sport 2 from 7.15pm.
Our pick: Kiwi Ferns by 8.
(Main photo: photosport.nz).