The Wallaroos stamped their authority on Japan with a 34-5 victory in the first international women’s test in Newcastle, as 3,912 avid spectators watched on at the No.2 Sportsground on Saturday afternoon.
The 29-point victory last weekend marked the first time the Wallaroos have played a stand-alone match in Australia in more than 10 years, and rugby fans from around the region were out in full force to support the historic event.
Australia put on a show for the gathered crowd, storming over six times across 65 minutes. Debutant star Averyl Mitchell got proceedings underway in the 9th minute, before fellow debutant Ariana Hira-Herangi crossed following a quick tap from halfback Cobie-Jane Morgan after a penalty.
Flyhalf Trileen Pomare scoring just two minutes after the break, with Sam Treherne’s conversion giving them a 19-0 lead. Mhicca Carter crossed next, before Eva Karpani put the Wallaroos up to a 29-0 lead.
Sam Treherne iced the game with her own five-pointer in the 74th minute, just moments after Japanese hooker Maiko Fujimoto finally got the visiting international side onto the board at No.2 Sportsground. Treherne also kicked two goals.
Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton, who marked her first stint as the team leader in the Newcastle test, said she couldn’t fault the women beside her for their courage and talent as they battled through the Japanese defence and a heavy wind on Saturday.
“That first half was hard, we had to absorb a lot of pressure but I think it was laying the platform and when we went to set piece. If we can go at that and be confident, the rest comes,” Hamilton said.
“We absorbed that pressure but we also dominated our attack. We just had a few loose carries but in that second half we came out firing and I think that showed in the second half. I don’t think you can try too hard when you’re representing Australia.
“It means so much to every single girl and I know it means so much to me and all of our families. Trying too hard is not a lack of effort and that’s what we talked about was effort. If you can execute what you want by trying too hard, that’s fine by me.
“It was an emotional day but I’m so proud and so excited for every single girl that stood on that field today.”
The Wallaroos have stayed in camp in Newcastle until Wednesday. They face Japan again on Friday evening, with the second test to be hosted at North Sydney Oval.