Australia won the Women’s World Cup final for the third time in a row with a lesson in how to play rugby league as they ran out 54-4 victors over southern hemisphere rivals New Zealand.
This was the fourth consecutive final between these two titans of the women’s game with Australia having won the last five matchups including a 10-8 victory in the group stages.
As such Australia started as huge favourites having rested nine players in their win against Papua New Guinea, where they won 82-0 in the double header semi-final that saw the Kiwi Ferns defeat hosts England 20-6.
The Jillaroos justified their favouritism early, going ahead after five minutes with Jessica Sergis scoring her sixth of the tournament followed by a smart conversion by Ali Brigginshaw to make it 6-0.
It was a first half of Aussie dominance as they forced errors and pinned the Ferns in their own half for most of it, with the sole highlight for New Zealand being a Krystal Rota 25-yard break from dummy half but it was to no avail.
Brigginshaw was soon involved again, throwing a dummy to make space to target the goalline before an offload allowed Isabelle Kelly to score in the corner against a sloppy New Zealand scramble defence.
Kelly would score again leading up to the half but not before the brilliant Brigginshaw kicked on the fourth, where a fortunate bounce was capitalised on by winger Julia Robinson to run in from 20 yards out for her seventh of the tournament.
Those two tries made it 20-0 at the half with the Ferns not even threatening the scoreboard and the Jillaroos in cruise control.
That would continue in the second half as Australia extended their lead to 26-0 with player of the match Brigginshaw involved again, popping the ball back inside for Emma Tonegato to break one tackle and run it in under the sticks.
That was the start of the floodgates opening as not two minutes later did Jessica Sergis score her second of the game making it 32-0 after Kezie Apps’ brilliant line was found once again by the string pulling Brigginshaw.
New Zealand full-back Appi Nicholl’s had to leave the field for a HIA and Australia took advantage with Tarryn Aiken completing a one-two from centre to wing and back inside allowing her to run in uncontested from 20 yards out. Lauren Brown remained perfect and converted to make it 38-0.
The Ferns managed to avoid being nilled as they built on a rare Aussie penalty to march down the field and a series of offloads inside the 20 led to Madison Bartlett scoring in the corner to huge cheers and applause from the crowd.
That joy was short lived as a McGregor knock-on gave Australia the ball back immediately and Kennedy Cherrington scored, before doubling her tally just three minutes later to take the Jillaroos past the 50-point mark.
Evania Pelite managed to add her name to the score sheet by evading four tired tacklers to rub salt into New Zealand wounds. This marked a dominant beat down by the Aussies who confirmed their status as the world number one team by winning a record third title in a row prevailing 54-4.