20 Nov 2022

Jillaroos thrash Kiwi Ferns in women's World Cup final

9:01 am on 20 November 2022

Two tries apiece from Jessica Sergis, Isabelle Kelly and Kennedy Cherrington helped Australia to storm to a third successive Women's Rugby League World Cup title by thrashing New Zealand 54-4 in the final at Old Trafford on Sunday.

Australia'a Isabelle Kelly scores her first try against New Zealand in the women's Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford.

Australia'a Isabelle Kelly scores her first try against New Zealand in the women's Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Kiwi Fernss were on the back foot from the off after Sergis forced her way over for an early try, with the reigning champions crossing the line three more times in the first half, including twice from Kelly, to register a 20-0 lead at the break.

Australia kept coming in the second half, with Emma Tonegato going over under the posts soon after the restart, before another from Sergis and a Tarryn Aiken effort put the game beyond their Trans-Tasman rivals.

The biggest cheer from the Manchester crowd was reserved for the game's next try, New Zealand's only score of the match, with Madison Bartlett going over, but it was too little, too late.

Australia did not have to wait long to touch down again, as a quickfire pair of converted tries from Cherrington and another from Evania Pelite finished off a near-perfect afternoon for the holders.

The final whistle was greeted with wild celebrations as the Australian domination of the women's game rumbled on.


Ali Brigginshaw has been at the top of women's rugby league for longer than just about anybody else but for all the games she's played and the trophies she's won, it's doubtful that even she has had many games as influential as this.

Brigginshaw was the best player on the field by a distance in Australia's 54-4 World Cup final demolition of New Zealand at Old Trafford, a game that served as a reminder that the Broncos playmaker is the finest player ever to lace on a boot in women's rugby league.

She's now won player of the match awards in back-to-back World Cup finals and this, surely, was her finest hour.


New Zealand came to the Theatre of Dreams with an upset on their mind, and after their narrow loss to Australia in the group stages it seemed like they had a serious chance.

But once the dust settled after Brigginshaw's opening salvo, the World Cup was all but won. It wasn't just that she played a hand in each of Australia's first three tries, it was the way it all happened.

First, Brigginshaw picked up Jess Sergis running a sharp unders line from close range on the right side. Then she sliced through from 30 metres out and popped an incredible over-the-shoulder pass to Kezie Apps, which led to an easy score for Isabelle Kelly.

Finally, a kick over the top from Brigginshsaw sat up for Julia Robinson as if controlled by telekinesis. Th lead was only 14-0, but for all intents and purposes the game was over.

Brigginshaw stayed on the job in the second half, creating a try for Emma Tonegato with a neat inside pass, as Australia kept putting on the points to claim a third-straight World Cup in style.

It was the toughest way to finish for the Kiwi Ferns. Ricky Henry's side are far better than what they showed, but they just couldn't get anything going in the face of the Australian onslaught.

Backrower Amber Hall was far from the power who bent the Jillaroos to her will in the group stages and while halfback Raecene McGregor, the heir apparent to Brigginshaw's title as the game's top playmaker, did what she could there was no answer for the green and gold rampage.

A five-day turnaround from the semi-final, which was preceded by a three-day turnaround from the end of the group stages, cost New Zealand dearly.

- Reuters/ABC