Shock Nines win helps Ferns build belief

Most of the Kiwi Ferns players involved in last weekend's upset win over the Jillaroos in the Downer World Cup 9s final had never experienced a win against Australia but hope the belief that result generated will carry into this Friday's 13-a-side Test.

Despite the different format, 13 of the 15 Ferns who won that final are in the 17 for Wollongong and the remaining two – Madison Bartlett and Kanyon Paul – are in the reserves list.

There is at least a fair bit of continuity about the Ferns' list; seven of the 17 listed players were involved in that 2016 Test win over Australia and there are just two rookies, with the new crop mostly having been together since the 2017 World Cup.

One of those is impressive young hooker Nita Maynard, who scored the match-winning try last Saturday.

"It was my first time getting one over Australia so it was really good for me and it puts a good vibe amongst camp," Maynard told NRL.com.

"And everybody who didn't get to play is really raring and wanting to step up for the next game. The girls who didn't get to play really want to make their presence known when it comes to the 13-a-side game.

"This was the game we were looking forward to most. We've all had a really good season with our own clubs, we've got a big contingent from the Warriors who had a really great season beating the Broncos for the first time so it goes to show we've got the talent here. The belief instilled by that win on Saturday was really great."

While Maynard is rightly happy with her own recent form, things didn't quite click for club side the Roosters in the NRLW this year.

"I haven't won anything in a long time!" she laughed.

"Having won something like that, that wasn't expected of us, coming into the campaign we've got a really good culture here at the Kiwis. Most of us have been together for at least 12 months so having that connection really shows.

"I'm enjoying footy at the moment, I had a good club season leading into NRLW. Not so much the results in the NRLW but just being a part of that professionalism and a part of a great club like the Sydney Roosters, it's always great coming into this campaign feeling good, body's in good nick for now."

Halfback Raecene McGregor has had a sensational end to 2019, playing outstanding football in Brisbane's premiership campaign before nabbing the player of the tournament award in the 9s.

McGregor told NRL.com she was happy with her recent efforts and hoped the team could build on last weekend.

"It's good we keep a core group of girls together," McGregor told NRL.com.

"There's only two rookies that have come in this time and the rest of us have played together for quite a while now.

"With me living in Australia I don't get to jam with those girls much but when we come back into camp we always click straight away."

Despite her halves partner Charntay Poko being even newer to the Ferns set-up than McGregor, having played her only Test so far earlier this year against Samoa, the Broncos playmaker had full faith in the spine combinations.

"I've played with [fullback] Apii [Nicholls] a fair bit, I think it's my fifth time playing with her; I've only recently played with Poko but we've played enough together to be able to gel well enough," McGregor said.

"She's improved so much from the test match in June against Samoa, her kicking game is phenomenal.

"She's got a really long kick which really helps our team. Me being a shorter, more accurate kicker, she's got that long kick that can really get us out of trouble."