Jillaroos vow to finish the job
They were in this very same position 12 months ago but the Jillaroos have vowed not to let slip the chance to beat the Kiwi Ferns in New Zealand for the first time after winning the opening game of their three-match series on Saturday.
In the third year of the series the women's match was again met with great enthusiasm by the Eden Park crowd at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines but the parochial Kiwi Ferns supporters were silenced in the opening minute by a try to Dally M Female Player of the Year Kezie Apps.
Chelsea Baker grasped an intercept and ran 80 metres as the Jillaroos opened up a 12-0 lead at half-time and although Amber Kani scored early for the Kiwi Ferns in the second half the Jillaroos added further tries to Baker and Isabelle Kelly to win 20-4.
The Jillaroos won the opening game of last year's series 9-0 before losing the following two matches and Apps says they are determined not to let it happen again on Sunday.
"We've just got to stay humble, stay grounded," Apps told NRL.com.
"We've still got two more jobs to do so hopefully we can perform even better than we did today.
"Brad (Jillaroos coach Brad Donald) just said that we did a great job but we still had two more jobs to do.
"Stay humble and enjoy the great game that we had but we can improve which we will look to do tomorrow."
After leading New South Wales to a drought-breaking win over Queensland and being named the best female player in the game last year Apps picked up where she let off in 2016 with her very first touch of the football.
Cutting back onto a pass from Ali Brigginshaw, Apps used some deft footwork at the line to bust the Kiwi Ferns defence wide open and race 60 metres to score virtually untouched.
All on her 26th birthday.
And while the speed and skill of Baker, Maddie Studdon and Caitlin Moran, Apps paid tribute to the efforts of Annette Brander and Renae Kunst in matching the physicality of the Kiwi Ferns forwards.
"They do all of the one per centers and all of the hard work and then the wingers and centres look pretty out wide and score all the tries for us," Apps said.
"That's just the way it is."
The second match of the series will be played at 3.55pm (NZ time) on Sunday with the third to follow at 5.50pm prior to the final of the men's tournament.