Bend it like Brigginshaw as Jillaroos remain queens of the international game

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Australia Women v New Zealand Women

A five-star performance from Australia's Ali Brigginshaw was the source of Australia's comprehensive victory over New Zealand in this morning's Women's World Cup final at the historic Old Trafford in Manchester.

This World Cup final re-match from five years ago had a lot on the line. Both nations have improved exponentially since the launch and expansion of the NRLW in 2018 as well as consistent pathways to national sides.

The match got off to a strong start as the sides went set for set. But it was a strong defensive set from the Jillaroos which gave the Australians some momentum and field position. This was rewarded when a great pass from Ali Brigginshaw found Jess Sergis who had too much strength for Apii Nicholls to cross for the first try of the contest.

Seven minutes later, Brigginshaw again caused problems when she cut the Kiwi Ferns wide open with a big show and go. Off the ensuing tackle, it was a great shift out to the left and Tarryn Aitken found Isabelle Kelly who crossed out wide and there was some ominous signs for the Kiwi Ferns. But they were able to force some errors from the Jillaroos and slowly work into the contest by the mid-way mark of the first half. The Kiwi Ferns had some try scoring chances, but when your playing the best in the world, you need to convert your chances when you have them.

The Jillaroos immediately made the Kiwi Ferns pay when Brigginshaw again was heavily involved when Julia Robinson got a room service bounce off Ali's kick and the Jillaroos had their third try of the contest. Nine minutes later, a soft penalty conceded by Georgia Hale gave the Aussies the field position they needed, and it was Kelly again who crossed for her second try of the first half which gave Australia a 20-0 advantage at half-time.

The key difference was on display in the opening set after the break. New Zealand were going nowhere, the Australian defence was relentless and ruthless and denying the Kiwi Ferns any room to move coming out of their own end. This easy field position gave the Jillaroos their fifth try when Brigginshaw provided once more as Emma Tonegato fell onto an outside-inside play to cross.

Two minutes later, it was much the same as Brigginshaw sent Kezie Apps into a gap before linking up with Sergis to cross for her second try of the contest. This extended the margin to 32 points and it could've been more, only if Robinson hung onto the footy on her way to the line. But it showed the Kiwi Ferns weren't going down without a fight in this contest. But, that theory was put to bed five minutes later, the Jillaroos shifted it to the left and it was Aitken who crossed.

New Zealand got their moment of joy when Abigail Roache fooled the defence down the Australian right edge, who found Page McGregor who then got it onto Madison Bartlett who crossed for the Kiwi Ferns. Their moment of joy, soon turned to despair when their star player Raecene McGregor went down in awful pain clutching at her wrist, but she was able to play on. Unfortunately, their defence was unable to hang on as Kennedy Cherrington crossed for two tries in the space of three minutes to bring up the half-century. Evania Pelite continued the scoring when she was able to fool Mele Hufanga to cross.

Australia were deserving winners of this match and showed that they are a force on the world stage even with players like Millie Boyle, Corban Baxter and Tamika Upton at home. New Zealand tried valiantly, but the class difference was on full display, but Australia have completed part one of the potential double crown at Old Trafford today. 

Australia Women 54 - New Zealand Women 4

Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester
Crowd: 0
Halftime Score: Australia Women 20 New Zealand Women 0 Players of the Match:
3 points - Ali Brigginshaw
2 points - Lauren Brown
1 points - Kennedy Cherrington

Tries: Jessica Sergis (2), Isabelle Kelly (2), Julia Robinson, Emma Tonegato, Tarryn Aiken, Kennedy Cherrington (2), Evania Pelite
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Ali Brigginshaw (2/5), Lauren Brown (5/5)
Penalty Goals:

Tries: Madison Bartlett
Field Goals:
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Raecene McGregor (0/1)
Penalty Goals:

See how it happened in our Match Centre