Jillaroos grateful for second chances
Some will have to work extra shifts, others will simply ring in sick while Latoya Billy's three-day journey home to Moa Island in the Torres Strait has been postponed until Monday but Jillaroos captain Stephanie Hancock says it will all be worth it for the chance to play on Sunday.
The Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns were three-quarters of the way through their warm-ups on Friday night when word was passed down that their game scheduled to kick-off at 5.30pm as the main curtain-raiser to the Kangaroos-Kiwis Test had been cancelled.
They waited in limbo until almost 6.30pm when the decision was made to postpone the men's Test and confirmation came in that the women's Test would also be played on Sunday, again as the curtain-raiser at Suncorp Stadium.
It was an emotional roller-coaster for players who rarely get to play international rugby league but one Hancock said will be worth the ride when they run out onto the field on Sunday.
"Everyone was pumped and pretty ready to go and then our manager came in and said the game was cancelled but I was really proud of the reaction of the girls," Hancock told NRL.com.
"No one lost their cool or anything, it's no one's fault, it's unpredictable weather, we're just happy that we still get to play the Kiwi girls on Sunday.
"I think everyone's flights are booked for 7am in the morning so we all just assumed that we wouldn't be playing but the NRL is brilliant and has managed to work everything out. They've managed to keep our rooms at the Novotel and everything's on plan to play on Sunday which is unbelievable.
"There are probably a lot of girls meant to be going home [on Saturday] to work or family but with the chance to wear the green and gold again I don't think anyone cares what's going on until full-time on Sunday."
Seeking to make amends for last year's Test loss and their series loss to the Kiwi Ferns at the Auckland Nines, Hancock said that the extra two days in camp together would benefit the Jillaroos and their preparation.
Four players – Mahalia Murphy, Tallisha Harden, Latoya Billy and Casey Karklis – were due to make their Test debuts on Friday night and although they are unlikely to have anywhere in Brisbane to train on Saturday, Hancock welcomed the extra time together.
"We've only got four new girls in the squad but those four girls bring a lot to the table," Hancock said.
"They've just got that natural ability, especially Casey who has just turned 18. You could see the disappointment in her face tonight but she's old enough and mature enough to understand how it all works.
"Everything was on the money for [Friday night] so I guess we've just got two more days to think about it."