The Australian Wallaroos and New Zealand Black Ferns will restore hostilities across the Tasman this weekend at Eden Park, after the Black Ferns clinically disposed of the Wallaroos 33-11 at ANZ stadium on Saturday evening.
The Wallaroos had no answer to the well drilled structure of the Black Ferns, as they ran in five tries through their skipper Fiao’o Faamausili with a hat-trick, Kendra Cocksedge and Linda Itunu.
The Wallaroos scored a late consolation try through replacement player Alisha Hewitt.
Despite the convincing victory, Black Ferns coach Glenn Moore said his team would be on their guard when the two teams meet at Eden Park .
He said Australia had exhibited massive improvement and the Super W had brought about a new professionalism to the Australian set-up.
“I watched some of the Super W and it was apparent to me they were going to be far better than we’ve seen before and I saw a few of their games at the world cup and I felt they were unlucky not to get some better outcomes”, Moore said.
Backing up Moore’s claims the victory was more difficult than it appeared, the Wallaroos defence, especially during the first 20 minutes of the match was rock solid, as they bustled the Black Ferns into error.
With New Zealand’s structure rock-solid, however, they rode out the Wallaroos defensive enthusiasm, attacked the Wallaroos out wide and put three tries on them to be up 19-3 at the break.
New Wallaroos coach Dwayne Nestor was positive about the Wallaroos performance after the match and he told The Women’s Game how far they’ve come since the 67-3 belting they endured at Eden Park last year and is optimistic looking ahead to Saturday’s challenge.
“I know they’ll be coming harder, they’ll be tough next week.
“We pick the good stuff out, but we also pick out the things we can change.
“The discipline on our sideline, that’s an attitude thing.
“There are things in that game we can fix quite easily and that's what makes it positive. We’re not stuck in a rut, because we haven’t executed, some things weren’t executed”, Nestor said.
He was also happy with debutant Emily Chancellor’s contribution and Mahalia Murphy’s running from fullback, where she had space to cause havoc to the Black Ferns on several occasions.
Despite the likely outcome of having Sarah Riordan back from her ankle injury and if Samantha Treherne can fire after a quiet game last weekend and give Murphy a helping hand, then the Wallaroos will be a chance of pushing the Black Ferns all the way.
The caveat is the Wallaroos need to improve in the set piece - their line out and scrum to be exact, so they have enough possession in order for their speedsters in Murphy, Treherne, Riordan, Lafai and company to be able to take advantage and put the onus back on New Zealand’s defensive capabilities.
Australia’s back row of Chancellor, Grace Hamilton and Georgia O’Neill are all world class and if they are first to the breakdown and can get enough ball to their backs, then anything is possible.
But waiting for them will be a New Zealand Black Ferns team who are strong across the park with no weaknesses and they’ll be all fired up in front of family and friends.
It makes for an interesting match and if the Wallaroos are to be any chance of victory, they have to strike early and execute for the full 80 minutes with the perfect game plan.
The match will be broadcast on Fox Sports Channel 501 2:45pm AEST.