Ipswich duo stars in Jillaroos cleansweep
THE Australian Jillaroos have sent a resounding message ahead of the Women's Rugby League World Cup later this year.
With two Ipswich stars making up the Jillaroos spine, the Australians dominated their New Zealand opponents at the Auckland Nines tournament.
With former Norths Tigers players Ali Brigginshaw and Brittany Breayley forming the creative backbone at halfback and hooker, the Jillaroos claimed their first Nines trophy with a 3-0 series whitewash at Eden Park.
Having lost the last two series in New Zealand, Australia was determined to capitalise on their opening 20-4 win on Saturday.
Returning on Sunday, the Aussies held the home side scoreless in the second game of the series to secure their first Nines title with a game still remaining.
In game three Breayley starred for the green and gold, scoring the second try of the match as Australia cruised to their third straight victory.
Speaking to the QT after the Jillaroos win, Briggingshaw was proud of her try-scoring teammate.
"I never seem to have the luck of scoring a try,” Brigginshaw laughed. "But I think we shared it around really well and it was great to get the clean sweep.
New South Wales representative and Dally M Female Player of the Year, Kezie Apps starred for the visitors in game two with a 60m runaway try with her first touch of the ball.
With Brigginshaw providing the final pass, the Ipswich part-time boxer said she was hopeful of being acredited with a try-assist.
"It was pretty amazing for her first touch of the ball,” she said. "It was Kezie's birthday as well so we told her she had to get a try and she did.”
Going into Sunday's clash, Apps had praised Australian forwards Annette Brander and Renae Kunst who blunted the Kiwi's physicality.
"They do all of the one per centers and all of the hard work and then the wingers and centres look pretty out wide and score all the tries for us,” Apps said.
"That's just the way it is.”
In game two it was Chelsea Baker and Samantha Bremner who found the try-line for the Aussies, with Allana Ferguson showing her touch with the boot to give Bremer a pin-point grubber into the in-goal.
Baker was back on the scoreboard just hours later, scoring from a Kody House offload to stretch their lead to 14-0 before Tanika-Jazz Noble hit back for the home side.
Now preparing for the upcoming All-Stars clash with the Jillaroos, Brigginshaw said the team was full of confidence for a big year ahead.
"This is one off our check list but there's plenty more to come,” she said. "I went in to this weekend thinking we were going to win because we were really well prepared and all the girls were confident in each other.
"We have a big squad training together and even though it was the 16 of us we flew over, it feels like a win for the whole group.”
Having now claimed the trans-Tasman test in Auckland, Brigginshaw and Breayley will be back in action this Friday night for the All Stars clash at McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle.