Jillaroos team efforts steals show at Nines
Jillaroos fullback Sam Bremner was buoyed by Australia's efforts to sink the Kiwi Ferns 11-4 in their first clash of the Downer NRL Auckland Nines on Saturday, and she might have even come up with the try of the tournament too.
Watching on from the back as Jillaroos lock Kody House chased down halfback Maddie Studdon's kick from 25 metres out, Hammond said she realised they were up to something special when the ball was kept alive on the other side of the field.
After House beat two Kiwis she was met by back-rower Renae Kunst who helped feed the ball to winger Karina Brown. As if a ghost had tackled her, the felled winger quickly regathered her feet and threw it back inside to House who found an exhausted Bremner near the posts.
"I was actually just saying to the girls for a while there I was watching Kody make her run and cheering her on," Bremner recalled.
"I quickly realised I had to get there so these tired legs got on the bike and I ended up getting there in the end which paid off.
"The Kiwi defence is really good so we were a very lucky team to have scored that try."
The Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns early efforts this weekend have proven to be another example of the growing stature of the women's game in rugby league – in what has been the second consecutive year the two nations have participated at the Auckland Nines.
"This is the biggest time for us to showcase what we're all about and what we can do. I think it's why we get so nervous because we always feel the need to improve ourselves," Bremner said.
"It's more so we want to show people [what we do]. We don't have to prove anything; all we have to worry about is getting more exposure and getting more people watching.
"We get the same feedback every time – it's either like 'wow I didn't know Australia had a womens team' or 'we didn't know you play as well as the boys' so we always get positive feedback.
"Last year we got caught up in it, so this week we have really practiced this week to stay off social media and not worry about the cameras. That played a massive contribution into our performance."
Bremner is also hoping last year's efforts aren't mirrored in any shape or form, with her being carried off with a concussion in the final game of the Jillaroos 2-1 series loss.
But don't think for a second she fears any such trouble.
"It doesn't scare me off, I realise it's just a part of the game. The Kiwis and the Aussies are here for the same reason and that's for the love of the game," she said.
"I didn't have any fear put in me [after last year]. I was more disappointed I couldn't go out that night more than anything."