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The biggest rivalry in women’s rugby league returns as New Zealand and Australia square off in Auckland off the back of the maiden NRL women’s competition. Join The Roar from 3pm (AEDT) for live coverage of the match.
The Australia Jillaroos will go into the women’s Trans-Tasman test as heavy favourites following a successful first season of the NRL women’s competition.
Brad Donald has made a number of changes from the side that won the World Cup at the end of last year however, the core of the squad is very much the same.
Ali Brigginshaw has had the captaincy thrust upon her after heroically steering the Brisbane Broncos to the premiership in a season where the Queensland club went undefeated.
She joins Maroons halves partner Zahara Temara in a spine which also features fellow Broncos and Queensland representatives Chelsea Baker at fullback and Brittany Breayley at dummy-half.
While their backline and spine is stellar featuring the likes of Baker, Brigginshaw, and centre pairing Jessica Sergis and Isabelle Kelly, the biggest challenge lies in the middle of the park.
Australia’s edge and loose forwards are a solid trio however it is up front in the forwards where they lack size, even though Heather Ballinger and Elianna Walton boast plenty of experience.
Coming against a New Zealand forward rotation consisting of Ngatokotoru Arakua and Aieshaleigh Smalley will be no easy feat.
New Zealand have blooded a new-look backline with Apii Nicholls at fullback and Honey Hireme co-captaining the side from centre alongside lock forward Laura Mariu.
NRLW grand final woman of the match Kimiora Nati will wear the No.7 jumper, outside of Raecene McGregor whose Dragons were unsuccessful in their first season.
Hireme and Maitua Feterika will be granted the near-impossible task of containing Jessica Sergis and Isabelle Kelly, shaping as a key battle on the flanks.
The last time the Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns met was in the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup final when Australia came up with a 23-16 victory to win their second consecutive title.
The Jillaroos will prove too good for New Zealand with Ali Brigginshaw dazzling as she steers Australia to victory.
Australia by 10.
Join The Roar from 3pm (AEDT) for score updates and debate in our live blog.