Isabelle Kelly has promised the Jillaroos will be out for revenge when they clash with New Zealand in the full-format test match this Friday evening, after the Ferns downed the Australian favourites in the Nines World Cup grand final.
In particular, Kelly has something important to prove when she comes up against the Kiwis again this weekend – one of the main photos of New Zealand’s 17-15 win in the 9s decider was of Jules Newman pointing to the Central Coast star after scoring.
As the two teams return to the 80-minute format, their squads swell back to regular size, with the inclusion of stars like Newcastle’s Holli Wheeler and Caitlan Johnston. Those reinforcements should help the Jillaroos, Kelly said.
“We want to be a bit more hungry than them, they were the better team last game and I can’t take that away from them,” the Golden Boot winner told NRL.com ahead of the chance for revenge against her New Zealand rivals this weekend.
“Last weekend was quite disappointing for us, but there’s a test match for us now where we can make up for it, and we’re looking forward to that.
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“We have all the other girls coming into the team for the test match too, and I think that will add a bit of fuel to the fire, and I think we’re going to take every day as it comes in the leadup to the next match.”
Australia had entered into the title fight as favourites after rolling over the Ferns in their opening clash the Friday before, but was left shocked after the Kiwis took their game to a new level and made sure they came away with the silverware.
The scales have tipped a little more towards New Zealand after their two-point win last weekend, but Australia’s dominant Test match record over the Ferns past three years – a stat they held on to with a 24-22 win last year – remains firm.
On top of that, Kelly knows that her side’s two-point loss has only given them things to improve on. Defence, completion, and further teamwork are all points that she raised as potential areas the girls in green and gold could boost.
“At the end of the days its 9s, and that has a bit of luck as well, but they went out and played as a team, ran hard, and were the better team on the day,” she said.
“I’m so proud of the team regardless of the result, all tournament we showcased what we can do and we gelled well. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the big win, but showcasing what women’s league can do is just going to put it even more on the map.”
Kelly, alongside Wheeler, Johnston, and fellow Newcastle star Hannah Southwell, has the chance for revenge on October 25. Kickoff is slated for 5.40pm, with the WIN Stadium clash also set to be televised on FOXTEL and Kayo Sports.
Jillaroos squad: Kezie Apps, Millie Boyle, Annette Brander, Ali Brigginshaw (c), Keeley Davis, Kirra Dibb, Tallisha Harden, Caitlan Johnston, Isabelle Kelly, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Corban McGregor, Tiana Penitani, Julia Robinson, Jess Sergis, Hannah Southwell, Simaima Taufa, Shakiah Tungai, Botille Vette-Welsh, Holli Wheeler.