How Jillaroos coach plans to avenge Nines defeats
THE Jillaroos will head to the Auckland Nines hellbent on reversing the result from last year.
The team was incredibly disappointed with its performance at the Nines in 2016 when New Zealand comfortably defeated them 9-0 and 21-7 on day two of tournament, and they'll be heading over this year with a plan of using their speed and skill against the Ferns' power game.
Coach Brad Donald named his team on Tuesday and has selected players who suit the Nines style.
"A number of the senior girls, when I took the reins, were quite bothered by the fact New Zealand have got the wood on them,” Donald said.
"The senior girls have been working on the culture within the team and every opportunity they get they're putting their best foot forward and doing everything they can to win the match.
"New Zealand are a very powerful, strong team. It's pretty easy when you're playing teams like that to fall into the same trap and try to out-muscle them.
"I'm looking at what our strengths are, and that's skill and speed and I think if we use our strengths and try to match them defensively, hopefully we have more speed and skill.”
Many Jillaroos will back up from the Nines in the All Stars game, for which teams were named on Tuesday as well, and then all focus will switch to preparing for their defence of the World Cup at the end of the year.
The Nines will be Donald's first matches as coach. He took over at the end of last year after being with the QRL and its women's side.
He said his time so far with the team had been "a dream” and he was honoured to be working with the women's team.
"It's been fantastic. When I first got appointed I was very humbled by the appointment,” he said.
"When you get the girls in a room and you're discussing where they've come from and what they're about, what they're trying to do, it's a really humbling experience.
"You have a bunch of 30 women who are pretty selfless. They're basically trying to pave the way for other females in the sport. That's their No.1. That's what they're trying to do for the next generation, is make sure they put the best level of footy on the field.
"That's quite difficult because a lot of them are in small towns or a getting coached for one or two hours a week and doing the rest themselves to make sure when they get these opportunities to play for Australia or play All Stars or NSW or Queensland that they have a really good product, because if they can get the product to a standard that people really want to watch then there will be more interest in the game.”
Jillaroos Auckland Nines 2017 squad
1. Kezie Apps (NSW)
2. Chelsea Baker (QLD)
3. Annette Brander (QLD)
4. Brittany Breayley (QLD)
5. Sam Bremner (NSW)
6. Ali Brigginshaw (QLD)
7. Karina Brown (QLD)
8. Allana Ferguson (NSW)
9. Kody House (QLD)
10. Amelia Kuk - debut (QLD)
11. Renae Kunst (QLD)
12. Corban McGregor (NSW)
13. Caitlin Moran (NSW)
14. Ruan Sims (NSW)
15. Maddie Studdon (NSW)
16. Simaima Taufa (NSW)
Coach: Brad Donald
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH