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20 Feb 2018 12:49
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby League

    No room for emotion for focused Jillaroos

    Two great Jillaroos are retiring after the Women's Rugby League World Cup but coach Brad Donald says it hasn't been mentioned in preparation.

    - article from

    It's the underlying motivation that has been left entirely unspoken by the Jillaroos.

    The Women's Rugby League World Cup final against New Zealand is the end of the line for co-captains Steph Hancock and Renae Kunst, who will hang up their boots after long and distinguished careers.

    Coach Brad Donald says the desire to send them out as winners has not been mentioned in the lead-up to the Suncorp Stadium showdown - and not because he doesn't want them to.

    "If the girls wanted to talk about it, I'd let them talk about it," Donald said on Friday.

    "But they're not interested in talking about what's going to happen after the game.

    "It's a great tribute to those players and the culture in the team.

    "I'm sure there'll be plenty of talk about it afterwards but they're just worried about getting on with the job."

    That's the way Kunst, who made her debut for Australia at the 2008 World Cup, wants it.

    "It hasn't set in," the 35-year-old said.

    "I've always treated every game like it's my last.

    "This really is no different. My focus is on doing my job tomorrow and not letting any of my teammates down."

    With no room for sentiment, there was also no fairytale comeback for star fullback Sam Bremner after she was ruled out on match eve.

    Bremner revealed via Instagram on Friday morning she has a stress fracture in her fibula, which Donald suspected was probably a consequence of her attempts to come back from an earlier injury.

    The 25-year-old would usually be one of the first names on the team sheet for Australia but a niggling leg problem has stopped her taking part in the tournament.

    It ensures rookie Nakia Davis-Welsh, who has barely put a foot wrong as her replacement, will retain the No.1 jersey.

    The Jillaroos haven't lost a game in 2017 and are favoured to beat the Kiwi Ferns, who essentially had a monopoly on women's rugby league until they lost the last World Cup final four years ago.

    Donald hasn't seen any evidence this week to suggest that winning run should end now.

    "You'll see tomorrow night the commitment they've made," he said.

    "They're carrying on like good sorts this morning, kicking the ball around in the corridors and quite relaxed.

    "We don't stop that, that's the way they prepare.

    "We're happy to see that. There wasn't an intensity, there wasn't a change."

    Australia team: Nakia Davis-Welsh, Karina Brown, Corban McGregor, Isabelle Kelly, Chelsea Baker, Ali Brigginshaw, Caitlin Moran, Steph Hancock, Brittany Breayley, Heather Ballinger, Renae Kunst, Kezie Apps, Simaima Taufa. Bench: Ellianna Walton, Ruan Sims, Lavina O'Meally, Zahara Temara.

    © 2018 NZN, NZCity

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