Fitting finale for retiring Jillaroos
Retiring Australian Jillaroos forwards Steph Hancock and Renae Kunst have described their 23-16 Women's Rugby League World Cup final victory over New Zealand as a fairytale come true and the perfect way to end both of their careers.
It is so often in sport that fairytales do not eventuate, but the Rugby League Gods were with the two veterans as Australia hung on to claim back-to-back Women's World Cup titles.
Both were on the field as the full-time siren sounded and the emotions of the moment overflowed, with tears streaming down their faces as they embraced their Jillaroo teammates.
For Hancock, having the opportunity to bow out as a World Champion with her best friend by her side was the ultimate way to end a magnificent career.
"I think it's still sinking in. I'll have to come up with a new dream now because that one's done and dusted," Hancock said.
"To celebrate with my best mate and the other 22 girls will make it sink in."
Kunst, a co-captain of the victorious Jillaroos side, had kept her emotions in check in the lead-up to her final match, but that all changed once she realised the enormity of what she had achieved.
She struggled to hold back tears while facing the media, grateful for her career and the people who have helped her reach her dream.
"Yeah, it's a fairytale. To win a World Cup and to go out on your own terms is what players dream of," Kunst said.
"I was lucky enough to do that. I don't think you can top that."
Jillaroos coach Brad Donald was full of praise for his two retiring stars, thankful for everything they have done for the Australian jersey.
Sitting between his two retirees, Donald made a point to not only acknowledge their achievements, but also the achievements of every member of the team, including those behind the scenes.
"I don't want to take anything away from these two magnificent players. They are very humble and so is the rest of the team," Donald said.
"The team definitely played for those two girls, but it wasn't just for them, they also played for the seven girls who didn't take the field today, the 12 coaching staff that put their blood sweat and tears into this campaign for 12 months, and they played for every girl that's pulled on a jumper before.
"[Their retirement] did have a big bearing on it but there were certainly a lot of other things as well."