Australia retain the Women’s Rugby League World Cup after their win against New Zealand
Australia’s Jillaroos were unassailable at the 2021 Women’s Rugby League World Cup final, decisively beating New Zealand’s Kiwi Ferns 54-4 at Old Trafford.
While it is hardly surprising that the tournament’s final saw Australia and New Zealand head-to-head – the only two teams ever to have won the Cup – it was perhaps equally predictable that the Jillaroos were the ultimate victors. They have now won three consecutive World Cups, a streak that began by ending the Kiwi Ferns’ own run of victories from 2000-2008.
It was a pleasure to see such outstanding play from Australia, with Ali Brigginshaw’s performance a highlight, and confident tries from team members such as Jessica Sergis, Isabelle Kelly and Kennedy Cherrington, who all scored two each; Evania Pelite scored the final try of the game, setting their robust score of 54-4 in stone.
Such a forceful victory, after a run of previous eye-watering scores earlier on in the tournament (such as a 92-0 win against France that secured the Jillaroos’ place in the semi-finals), points towards Australia’s professionalism, a stark contrast to the status of other teams in the competition.
The fact that Australian women’s rugby league has their own competition, the NRLW, means greater funding for the game, and simply the opportunity for more women to play rugby more often, leading to a greater standard of women’s rugby.
What makes Australia’s victory all the sweeter is that they have also retained their winning streak, having previously been victors of the tournament in 2013 and 2017. The Rugby League World Cup also saw the Australian men’s team, the Kangaroos, take home their trophy on Saturday after beating Samoa 30-10 – another perhaps unsurprising victory.
Will the Jillaroos continue their dominance at the next tournament in 2025? Quite possibly – unless the other teams are given the chance to catch up.