Three Hunter stars have been included in the bulky Wallaroos squad named by coach Dwayne Nestor ahead of preparations for the 2021 Women’s World Cup, including Waratahs champions Maya Stewart and Cheech Barker.
Maitland’s Sarah Riordan, who has been out with an injury in recent months, will return in time to join the 47-player squad as they begin narrowing down the players likely to join the international team heading to New Zealand in July, 2021.
Before Australia takes to the field in the World Cup in two years, four tests await them in 2019, ahead of a new four nations competition slated for 2020.
Nestor’s side will first face Japan and New Zealand in two heavyweight clashes this year, with the narrowing 47-player squad likely to lead into those four upcoiming matches.
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The squad is stretching at the seams with international stars, and coach Nestor knows he has an interesting challenge on his hands dividing the veteran talent and the rising stars, including Nelson Bay’s Stewart.
“It’s a big squad and that provides some opportunities for a few fil provide opportunities for a few girls who in normal circumstances might not have a chance to be exposed to that kind of environment,” he said.
“Waratahs winger Maya Stewart is one girl who is pretty raw and fresh to it all saw enough to say let’s put her in that environment and give her a chance to learn a lot more and develop.”
Stewart, who lifted the Super W trophy with NSW just last weekend, is one of fifteen uncapped players joining the bloated training squad.
The players will train in state-based groups for the next three months before convening ahead of their July 6 Test against Japan. The first Japanese clash will be played in Newcastle on July 13, before a second is played out six days later at North Sydney Oval.
Official 47-player Wallaroos squad
Forwards: Millie Boyle, Emily Chancellor, Rebecca CloughToa (Dora) Filimoehala*, Grace Hamilton,Alisha Hewett, Evelyn Horomia, Fi Jones*, Asoiva (Eva) Karpani*, Michaela Leonard, Kiri Lingman, Ashley Marsters, Shannon Mato*, Michelle Milward, Averyl Mitchell*, Sera Naiqama*, Georgia O’Neill, Liz Patu, Emily Robinson, Christina Sekona*, Ana-Lise Sio, Tayla Stanford, Violeta Tupuola, Darryl Wickliffe.
Backs: Katrina Barker, Iliseva Batibasaga, Mhicca Carter, Georgia Cormick*, Lori Cramer*, Alana Elisaia*, Courtney Hodder*, Zakiya Kereopa*, Atasi Lafai, Chloe Leaupepe, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea*, Crystal Maguire, Nareta Marsters, Cobie-Jane Morgan, Mahalia Murphy, Asako Ono*, Shanice Parker, Trilleen Pomare Kalamunda, Sarah Riordan, Maya Stewart*, Samantha Treherne, Samantha Wood*. *denotes debutant.
Wallaroos 2019 fixtures
- Saturday, July 13: Australia v Japan, Newcastle Sportsground Number 2, Newcastle
- Friday, July 19: Australia v Japan, North Sydney Oval, Sydney
- Saturday, August 10: Australia v New Zealand, Optus Stadium, Perth
- Saturday, August 17: Australia v New Zealand, Eden Park, Auckland