Jillaroos' victory to inspire next generation
An inspiration to the next generation of young girls is what the Jillaroos' victory in the Women’s World Cup final is set to be.
With the women's game on the cusp of a new era with NRL plans for a professional competition next year, Australia's 23-16 win over the Kiwi Ferns in the tournament's showpiece in Brisbane could not have come at a better time for the domestic game.
At this World Cup the women's player profiles listed their occupations.
If all goes to plan that may not be necessary at the next tournament in four years' time when a professional NRL competition for women could well be in full swing.
The pay level for the players remains to be seen but it is a development that will change the face of the women's game forever.
On the eve of the final, the Jillaroos tweeted: "We know we're playing for possibly our young six-year-old girls out there, they may want to play rugby league, they may want to be a lawyer. We're just hoping to inspire the next generation".
They certainly did that.
The final showcased the best the women's game has to offer and the skill level was of the highest order.
Two-try Jillaroos hero Isabelle Kelly and silky-skilled half Caitlin Moran are just 21 years of age and are set to be superstars of the women's game.
Kelly's support play, speed and game awareness are top notch while Moran shows a willingness to take the game by the scruff of the neck and make a big play when needed, as her crucial try on the cusp of half-time showed.
Vision on a rugby league field is always a priceless commodity and Ferns five-eighth Raecene McGregor is a player who has that in abundance.
The cut-out pass she threw for Honey Hireme's opening try would have done Shaun Johnson proud.
Ferns captain Laura Mariu bows out of the game leaving a remarkable legacy in her homeland.
A three-time World Cup winner who has played in all five tournaments she will pass the baton to a generation of Ferns with plenty to offer.
If the Warriors have a women's team in the NRL competition then they will be a side to be feared.
Australian co-captain Ruan Sims said before the tournament that the Ferns had been powerhouses of women's rugby league. They remain a force to be reckoned with, but the wheel has turned and the Jillaroos, on the back of consecutive World Cup wins, are now at the pinnacle of the game.
Retiring Australian co-captains Renae Kunst and Steph Hancock finished their careers in the best way possible but can be assured that the women's game is in great hands.