After three intense women’s matches in Representative Round, these are the best 17 players.
The representative round for women started on Thursday with the Under 19s State of Origin. The game was filled with action, iconic moments and big hits. Going into the break with an 8-6 lead, New South Wales dominated the whole second-half. The game was cemented with a full-length Jada Taylor try and the result ended up being 22-6 in New South Wales’ favour.
The Women’s State of Origin game went to the death on Friday night. Both teams played well in the first-half as New South Wales led the game 14-10. The last ten minutes of the game produced plenty of action as Queensland tried to fight and crawl their way back into the game. They got close bringing the game within two points, but an Isabelle Kelly try sealed the game with two minutes to go. They result ended in a 20-14 victory to New South Wales.
The women matches ended with a dominant display by the Kiwi Ferns. Mata Ma’a Tonga put in a good effort but their inexperience showed. The Kiwi Ferns ended up winning the game 50-12, after leading 30-0 at half-time. Two tries from McGregor, Bartlett and Vaha’akolo sealed the victory and they were able to celebrate with the home crowd behind them.
Fullback: Jada Taylor (U19s NSW)
Jada Taylor was the star on Thursday night, claiming the Player of the Match award. She had 231 running metres and two tries in New South Wales victory against Queensland. She cemented the Under 19s New South Wales win with a remarkable 103m try. That solo try was the greatest individual effort in a women’s match this round.
To score, she stepped past two defenders from her own in-goal, ran past the whole team and sprinted to the other side of the field. Only being chased by her Roosters teammate Otesa Pule, no one could keep up with her.
Wingers: Madison Bartlett (New Zealand) & Katelyn Vaha’akolo (New Zealand)
The two wingers for the Kiwi Ferns were the best performing backs in the game. Bartlett and Vaha’akolo had two tries apiece, with three of them occurring in the first half. While starring in attack, neither players needed to show much of their skill in defence.
Bartlett had 111 run metres off 11 runs and two line-breaks. Her teammate on the other side of the field, Vaha’akolo made 95 run metres and also two line-breaks. Not only were they instrumental in the win but displayed why the Kiwi Ferns are a team to watch out for.
Centres: Andie Robinson (U19s NSW) & Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
Andie Robinson was one of the stars of the game in the Under 19s State of Origin. After opening the game with a try within the first five minutes, she put on two more tries in the second-half. Narrowly missing out on the player on the game, her hat-trick solidified the New South Wales win.
Following Robinson’s performance, Isabelle Kelly continued the good form of New South Wales centres. Her 201 run metres, 16 tackles and one try earned her the Player of the Match. She was unstoppable in attack and no one could stop her as she easily got past the opposing defenders.
Five-Eighth: Kirra Dibb (NSW)
If Jada Taylor didn’t score that marvellous try on Thursday, Kirra Dibb would have taken home the best try honours. Her 40m solo-try was an amazing individual performance by itself. Add her 124 kicking metres, she was influential in controlling the plays.
Along with Rachael Pearson, the five-eighth gave New South Wales an advantage early on in the game. With a close finish in the second-half, Dibb didn’t make any mistakes in attack to change the ball over. She cemented her spot in the New South Wales team with this great performance.
Halfback: Raecene McGregor (New Zealand)
Named as one of the top three players in the world at the end of the 2020 season. McGregor has continued to show why she is one of the premium players in the NRLW, illustrated by this performance on Saturday.
Along with debutante Laishon Jones, she controlled the play-making aspect of the Ferns attack. She ended up with one try, one line-break and a line-break assist. Her kicking game was also on point with 47 kick metres and wasn’t afraid to run the ball making an average of 10 metres per run.
Props: Simaima Taufa (NSW) & Annetta Nu’uausala (New Zealand)
Both starting props for New South Wales in Origin were influential in the win, but Simaima Taufa had a slightly bigger impact than Jillaroos player Millie Boyle. Taufa statistics included 127 run metres and added 31 tackles in the middle of the field. Without her and Boyle, New South Wales wouldn’t have been able to control the ruck as good as they did.
The other best prop this round was Annetta Nu’uausala. The younger sister of former Roosters forward Frank, had 131 run metres off 11 runs averaging nearly 12 metres per run. 50 of these metres came after initial contact. Her effort in attack contributed to the 50 point scoreline and she was equally efficient in defence with 12 tackles
Hooker: Shirley Mailangi (Tonga)
Shirley Mailangi was Mata Ma’a Tonga’s best player by far and deserves a spot as the best hooker of the round. She led her team in defence with a game high 31 tackles, six more tackles than anyone else in her team and the game.
Her six runs from dummy-half gave the Tonga team hope and innovated their attack. That plus her kicking game pushed the Kiwi Ferns back into their own half. She ended up with 106 kick metres.
Second-Rowers: Kezie Apps (NSW) & Roxette Murdoch (New Zealand)
Kezie Apps was a force to be reckoned with in defence. This included playing the whole game and ended up with a game-high 34 tackles. The veteran New South Wales representative was finally able to lead by example and win the State of Origin after two consecutive losses. She still provided a range of offence with 58 run metres from six runs.
Roxette Murdoch had a great game on both sides of the field. In attack she had two line-breaks, one try and ran 89 metres. On the defensive line she had a team high 23 tackles, and made sure Tonga couldn’t go through the edges. Due to this, Tonga had a harder time going through the Ferns in the middle.
Lock: Georgia Hale (New Zealand)
The Kiwi Ferns vice-captain and starting lock produced a dominant display against Mata Ma’a Tonga. She was able to run a game-high 188 metres off only 19 runs and have one line-break. 67 of these run metres were done after post-contact In defence she was equally as good having 22 tackles.
She controlled the middle of the field in both defence and attack and was able to offload efficiently allowing her teammates another chance to attack. Her experience helped the younger players control their nerves playing in front of their home crowd.
14. Tarryn Aiken (Queensland)
The five-eighth was fluent in the Queensland attack. Without her, the team wouldn’t have come close to beating New South Wales. Her influence on the game included 84 run metres, 16 tackles and one try assist.
Aiken was even able to put one try on the scoreboard. Unfortunately, she will be disappointed in herself not getting the win for the team.
15. Destiny Brill (Queensland)
Another Queensland player to make the team of the round, Brill would be disappointed with the outcome of the match. She opened the game with a try and that was just the beginning of a great performance from her.
Unlike her teammate Aiken, Brill was more dominant in defence. The lock ended the game with 27 tackles and 68 run metres. If the game was won in Queensland’s favour, Brill could have seen her in the starting lock position for the best team in the round.
16. Jessica Sergis (NSW)
Sergis was unlucky to miss out on a starting spot in this team. She made the third most run metres in the game with 133. The former Dally M medal winner has been an integral part of the New South Wales line-up and will continue to be if she has performances like these.
Isabelle Kelly and herself took charge on the outside backs and was able to get around the Queensland centres and wingers.
17. Kararaina Wira-Kohu (New Zealand)
Wira-Kohu came off the bench for the Kiwi Ferns and immediately had an impact. The forward was amazing in attack providing the team with versatility but was unreliable in defence, only having three tackles.
She had three line-breaks, 136 run metres and 54 post-contact metres. Her contribution earned her a try at the start of the second-half.
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