Kezie Apps’ World Cup debut as Jillaroos squad confirmed

NOT LONG NOW: Jillaroos stars Kezie App, Ruan Sims and and Maddie Studdon are stepping up preparations for the upcoming World Cup. Picture: John Veage
NOT LONG NOW: Jillaroos stars Kezie App, Ruan Sims and and Maddie Studdon are stepping up preparations for the upcoming World Cup. Picture: John Veage

Jillaroos coach Brad Donald has named a squad of 24 ahead of the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, which kicks off November 16 in Sydney.

The squad includes 16 World Cup debutantes – among them Bega’s Kezie Apps, who made her national team debut in 2014.

Also included are five players who have captained Australia this year in Sam Bremner, Karina Brown, Steph Hancock, Renae Kunst and Ruan Sims.

Donald said that every Jillaroos team member this year, either playing in matches or as part of training camps, had contributed to elevating the team to its highest professional point and was confident in the abilities of the squad selected for the World Cup.

“Every member of the Jillaroos has had the opportunity to press for selection across training camps and matches this year and there is no doubt that as an extended team, we are closer than we have ever been and committed to our goal of retaining the World Cup,” Donald said.

“It seems a long time since we first sat down as a group and discussed what we wanted to achieve in 2017.

“Pleasingly, we have ticked off several objectives, but retaining the World Cup remains at the top of the list.

“With the tournament being staged in our home country, we will be drawing on local support and our intention is to complete the year with a World Cup win.”  

Apps said last week’s comprehensive win over a newly-formed PNG team was a great warm up for the World Cup, but also a good chance to let some budding stars showcase their ability. 

Rugby League World Cup chief executive Andrew Hill congratulated the Jillaroos on their success to date and wished the team well ahead of their opening match against the Cook Islands at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney.

“The Jillaroos have demonstrated a consistent level of hard-work and determination throughout 2017 and it’s exciting to see the support for not only the Jillaroos, but women’s rugby league in general as it continues to grow, with more girls and women participating,” Mr Hill said.

Tickets to the Women’s Rugby League World Cup tournament are available from www.rlwc2017.com, with prices starting from $10 for triple header pool games.  

Those 15 years or under and concession holders can gain entry for free to women’s pool matches.

The squad is (in alphabetical order) is Kezie Apps * Helensburgh (NSW), Chelsea Baker * Wallabies Gladstone (QLD), Heather Ballinger Wests Panthers (QLD), Annette Brander * Beerwah Bulldogs (QLD), Brittany Breayley * Brothers Ipswich (QLD), Sam Bremner Helensburgh (NSW), Ali Brigginshaw Brothers Ipswich (QLD), Karina Brown Easts Tigers (QLD), Nakia Davis-Welsh * Redfern All Blacks (NSW), Vanessa Foliaki *  Easts Tigers (NSW), Steph Hancock Easts Tigers (QLD), Isabelle Kelly * North Newcastle (NSW), Renae Kunst Wests Panthers (QLD), Corban McGregor * Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW), Caitlin Moran * North Newcastle (NSW), Lavina O’Mealey * Redfern All Blacks (NSW), Talesha Quinn * Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW), Ruan Sims Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW), Maddie Studdon * Redfern All Blacks (NSW), Zahara Temara * Burleigh Bears (QLD), Simaima Taufa * Mounties (NSW), Elianna Walton Greenacre (NSW), Meg Ward * Northern Territory (NT) and Rebecca Young * North Newcastle (NSW). * Denotes World Cup debutante