Jillaroos name four debutants for opener
Northern Territory product Meg Ward is one of four debutants named in Brad Donald's Jillaroos line-up for Thursday afternoon's opening Women's World Cup clash with the Cook Islands at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
Born in Darwin, Ward has been named alongside Nakia Davis-Welsh, Talesha Quinn and utility Lavina O'Mealey to make their Test debut, with Donald opting to rest members of the successful 2013-winning squad in Ruan Sims, Elianna Walton, Sam Bremner and Renae Kunst for the opening round.
"With the nature of the tournament you will see in our first game we will rest seven players from our starting 17," Dalton said.
"But we've got every faith that all 24 players will do well, so really, every spot is up for grabs and that's the way we want it. We've treated it like that for 12 months now, for every spot we want the girls to put pressure on each other.
"We've got a saying that pressure equals diamonds and that's the philosophy within."
A firefighter away from the game, Ward is set to start on the wing after a strong performance in the warm-up fixture against Papua New Guinea in September.
For Quinn, it caps a remarkable turnaround after the back-rower returned to the game at the start of the year following a four-year break, while Davis-Welsh and O'Mealey represented the victorious Indigenous All Stars side in February.
1. Nakia Davis-Welsh (debut)
2. Karina Brown – Jillaroo # 118
3. Annette Brander – Jillaroo # 127
4. Isabelle Kelly – Jillaroo # 141
5. Meg Ward (debut)
6. Ali Brigginshaw – Jillaroo # 102
7. Caitlin Moran – Jillaroo # 140
8. Steph Hancock (captain) – Jillaroo # 74
9. Brittany Breayley – Jillaroo # 128
10. Rebecca Young – Jillaroo # 117
11. Vanessa Foliaki – Jillaroo # 129
12. Talesha Quinn (debut)
13. Zahara Temara – Jillaroo # 143
14. Maddie Studdon – Jillaroo # 130
15. Lavina O’Mealey (debut)
16. Simaima Taufa – Jillaroo # 131
17. Kezie Apps – Jillaroo # 126
18. Corban McGregor – Jillaroo # 139
19. Heather Ballinger – Jillaroo # 113
Coach: Brad Donald