Canada Ravens captain Mandy Marchak and Kiwi Ferns captain Laura Mariu.

Ravens not out to make up numbers

Canada's female rugby league team will enter their Women's World Cup opening clash against New Zealand on Thursday with limited preparation regarding the rules of the game. 

With every player in the side coming from a rugby union background, the Ravens have had only a week together while still adapting to rugby league. That includes basic principles such as playing the ball correctly and getting back 10 metres after each tackle.

"Those are some of the hardest things we've had to adjust to," Ravens captain Mandy Marchak told NRL.com.

"Playing the ball and not placing it down or getting up quickly and attacking the ruck is probably the toughest thing we've had to get our heads around.

"We're good now though, our growth in this sport is really good in the short time we've had together.

"I don't think there will be those slip-ups but mistakes will happen. It's just how we move on from them [that matters]."

The Ravens were handed qualification for the six-team tournament as a stepping stone for the 2025 World Cup which they'll co-host with the USA.  

Marchak has represented Canada in five rugby union World Cups and the squad boasts four additional current rugby internationals in Andrea Burk, Stevi Schnoor, Natasha Smith and Gillian Hoag.

"We're excited for this tournament because it's extremely different to anything we've ever done before," Marchak said.

"We have the skills and the fitness but it's learning those small technical and tactical differences and putting it into a game. I know that each team here have good ball skills. It's something they do day-to-day playing rugby league.

"That's something we've never done."

Despite acknowledging the inexperience within the camp, Marchak insisted the Ravens weren't in Australia for a holiday and expected to surprise a few people.

"We're happy to be here, sure, but we're not settling for that. We do expect to compete," she said.

"There are things that you get out of a tournament and there are regrets and disappointments.

"Disappointments could happen but we don't want any regrets."

The experienced leader said the Rugby League International Federation had supported the side financially in travelling to Australia as a part of the game’s development.

Several members of the squad also set up GoFundMe pages in addition to asking family and friends for financial help.

"The girls that did [set up GoFundMe pages] are students and might need more assistance," Marchak said.

"The [RLIF] have really supported this journey for most of us. The cost was extremely low. It was affordable and achievable to come up with the funds personally."