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The Kiwi Ferns celebrate their win over the Jillaroos at Hunter Stadium.

Promoting second-phase play will be the focal point of the Kiwi Ferns' style under new coach Tony Benson, as they prepare to face the Jillaroos in Canberra on Friday night.

After being swept 3-0 in their series against Australia at the Downer NRL Auckland Nines earlier this year, the Kiwi Ferns parted ways with former coach Alan Jackson in favour of Benson in March.

Ahead of his first match in charge of the national women's side, Benson, a former Junior Kiwis mentor, sent out an ominous warning to the Jillaroos.

"[Our style] is all about using the ball and playing what is in front of you a lot more. It's going to be very fun to watch and it's fun to play." Benson told

"Probably not playing what the opposition expects, but when they tune into what we are doing we have the tools to change it again. It is quite a versatile game that can change pretty quickly.

"A lot of offloading and second-phase play, a lot of power-based play, because the thing I appreciate is how we as New Zealanders play the game, and you have to have a plan which suits your team.

"It's playing what's in front of you and that is what I think we are good at.

"We have some powerful runners and it's a game that suits them, we also have a lot of pace on the edges so it will use that as well."

After joining the team when they were at an historic low following their worst-ever performance on the international stage at the Nines, Benson said he had made a conscious effort to try and refresh the playing group.

"I have definitely had to make sure I am giving them fresh ideas, I don't know too much about what was there before but I know the game I bring is probably different to anything they have done before, and some of the methods are different," Benson said.

"For them it's having someone with a different approach, which is good for them. It's equally enjoyable for me having a new team and coaching ladies, which I haven't done before."

Jackson finished his two-year stint with the Kiwis Ferns with a 1-1 record in 13-aside Tests and having won two of his six matches at Nines level. 

Experienced second-rower Teuila Fotu-Moala backed the coaching change and believed it was a decision which had to be made ahead of the end-of-year Women's Rugby League World Cup in Australia.

"After the Nines this year we got together and gave our feedback and we just thought that something needed to happen around the leadership of the group," Fotu-Moala said.

"I think the NZRL identified that too and catered to what we thought was right for the team.

"With this change it's exciting. Tony has brought in a lot of stuff that we have never thought about and it's good for the girls."


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