Hunter hero Isabelle Kelly has continued to prove she is one of the best rugby league players in the world, clinching her double within the final five minutes of the Jillaroos’ contest against the Kiwi Ferns to confirm the 26-24 victory.
Newly appointed Jillaroos captain Ali Brigginshaw the way for her team in the early stages by laying on a try for Brisbane teammate Julie Robinson in just the sixth minute of her Test debut.
Brigginshaw then scored herself eight minutes later after stepping her way over the try line to put the Jillaroos ahead 12-0, before the home side struck back through a beautiful cut-out pass from Dragons playmaker Raecene McGregor that found Langi Veainu open on the line.
Despite the loss of Nati just before half-time, the Kiwi Ferns continued to build momentum after half-time and they scored their second try in the 44th minute when Annetta Nuuausala crashed over.
The teams continued to trade tries through the match, until Kelly broke the deadlock with a 70 metre solo effort in the 56th minute, fending off Nita Maynard to claim the win for the Jillaroos.
It was a close “scare” for the Australian team, Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said, but one that he knew was definitely on the cards as they headed into the international battle.
“The girls have come out of a premiership where they only played 60 minutes and we knew it was going to be tough,” Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said. “We knew it was going to come down to the last five or six minutes.”
“It was one hell of a game and one hell of a performance from both sides and showcased how good women’s rugby league is at the moment.”