Jillaroos ready to return the hits on 'Jukebox' Fotu-Moala
The Jillaroos are preparing a reception committee to take on Kiwi Ferns hitwoman Teuila Fotu-Moala and will be using inside knowledge to get the edge on their fierce trans-Tansman rivals.
The two sides clash in Auckland on Saturday with the Ferns boasting seven players from the champion Brisbane Broncos NRLW side. The Jillaroos have six Broncos in their squad and have an understanding of what makes their club teammates tick.
Fotu-Moala, known as 'The Jukebox" for the stream of big hits coming from her direction, will be a target for the Jillaroos.
"I am sure she will find a few of us on the field but that's football. Hopefully we will be able to give her a solid shot back," Jillaroos and St George Illawarra forward Holli Wheeler said.
"She was phenomenal in the World Cup and backed it up for the Broncos
"When we played the Broncos up at Suncorp it was a physical game. We know how they are going to play. We have to match their physicality."
Fellow forward Annette Brander insists the Jillaroos have a greater insight into their opponents than ever before, while conceding that Fotu-Moala was a player to watch.
"The Jukebox is someone we have been aware of for a while and she is very physical. They are big hitters but I think with them having played in the NRLW that has given us a lot more confidence," Brander said.
"We know how tough they are and what they have to offer so we are a bit more prepared this time around, when normally we have to wait a whole year and don't know what they have got or how much they have improved."
Wheeler has enjoyed a standout season and played in the green and gold in the Prime Minister's XIII's win over the PNG Orchids on Port Moresby on Saturday. Now she can't wait to make her Jillaroos debut.
"It's been insane, a dream year," Wheeler said.
"I set the goal at the start of the year to make the Country side. From there I got picked up for NSW and Dragons, then to play PNG. Now I am going to debut for the Jillaroos which is a dream come true.
"I'm still pinching myself, still waiting to wake up from the dream."
Wheeler, a mother of two, said she had tremendous support to enable her to pursue her rugby league dreams
"I am lucky. I have a very supportive wife at home and she is holding the fort while I am away," she said.
"I hate being away from them. My oldest is starting to get excited about rugby league. He has just turned six so he knows all the teams and is collecting the cards. He takes little St George flags and stuff to school, so it's massive to be able to share that with him
"Without the support at home we wouldn't be able to do what we do, and enjoy it while we are away."