FORMER Bathurst Panther Brad Donald watched his Jillaroos make an impressive start to their Women’s Rugby League World Cup campaign on Thursday, crushing Cook Islands 58-4.
Playing at Sydney’s Southern Cross Group Stadium, the Jillaroos demonstrated whey they are being tipped to defend the World Cup crown they won four years ago.
They opened scoring in the seventh minute and went on to finish will 11 four-pointers.
“I’m happy with the effort. The try the Cooks scored at the end there, they really deserved to score that try,” Donald said.
“They just kept showing up all day and it was their great spirit. You could see the disappointment in our girls when they crossed the line. They were disappointed at 52-0 to let in a try, and just shows the intent of the squad.”
Central West products Talesha Quinn (Parkes) and Vanessa Foliaki (Orange) both crossed for the Jillaroos during the dominant first half.
Second rower Foliaki scored in the 26th minute as she charged onto a short-ball from talented five-eighth Ali Brigginshaw. It helped her to match statistics of 84 metres gained, while she also made 19 tackles.
Quinn’s try came not long after, crossing in the 33rd minute.
She fended off three players on a 40 metre run following a Karina Brown break from dummy half. Quinn also got through a mountain of defence, making 32 tackles for the Jillaroos.
They were two of seven first-half tries from Donald’s side, who skipped out to a 36-0 lead.
After the break penalties and handling errors from the host nation saw Cook Islands enjoy more possession.
However, while they managed to cross for a try, the Jillaroos were a class above in running out 58-4 victors.
Donald’s side is expected to face stiffer opposition on Sunday when taking on England. Kick-off at Southern Cross Group Stadium is at 1.45pm.