The Jillaroos have farewelled veteran prop Heather Ballinger with a 26-24 win against the Kiwi Ferns at Mt Smart Stadium on Saturday.
Ballinger, who was part of the Brisbane Broncos side which won the inaugural NRLW Premiership, inspired the Jillaroos to victory on New Zealand soil for the first time in 19 years.
The 36-year-old spoke to teammates, including five debutants, about the last time Australia had beaten the Kiwi Ferns in New Zealand which was in the third Test of the 1999 series.
"It's been a long time since we've been here but those memories come from players like Heather Ballinger so it was great to see her finish on a note like that," Jillaroos captain Brad Donald said.
Ballinger was also named Player of the Match in her farewell Test for Australia.
It wasn't an easy day for the Jillaroos with forward Kenzie Apps coming off just before halftime with a knee injury which came after losing Jess Sergis yesterday. Meanwhile, 2018 Dally M Medalist Brittany Breayley ignored the pain of a neck problem to continue on in her game.
"We were leaning on a number of players," Donald said.
"With Kezie getting injured we needed players like Steph Hancock to play nearly the whole second half. We were fortunate to spend some time with the ADF earlier in the week and we spoke about mateship and showing up for each other," he said.
Australia wasn't the only one with a mounting injury toll with the Ferns losing halfback Kimiora Nati to a knee injury in the first half and co-captain Laura Mariu to a shoulder problem after the break.
Despite the slow start to the match which included a controversial refereeing decision, New Zealand managed to fight back and take the lead. However, the Jillaroos weren't about to lay down with Isabelle Kelly bagging her double but also the winner when she scored five minutes from fulltime.
The difference between the two sides was the goal kicking from fullback Chelsea Baker despite being affected by a possible groin injury.