Australian selectors have named an inaugural Harvey Norman Jillaroos Merit Team - based on those who played as part of the recent Women’s Interstate Challenge - featuring twelve members of the successful NSW Harvey Norman Women's side.
The announcement follows the recent confirmation of the Kangaroos Origin Merit Team.
Harvey Norman Jillaroos Coach Brad Donald congratulated players from both Interstate Challenge teams and said selectors were faced with some tough decisions when finalising the inaugural Merit Team.
"We're fortunate to have an incredibly talented and committed playing group at the elite level of the women’s game and at a time when women’s pathways in rugby league have never been stronger," Mr Donald said.
"Those in this Merit Team not only deserve to be named due to their on-field performance, but every one of them has gone above and beyond to include and embrace new audiences, fans and participants, particularly in the lead up to the Interstate Challenge.
"As a Jillaroos squad, which includes a majority of members from both Interstate Challenge teams, a representative from each Affiliated state, and a member of the victorious Australian Defence Force World Cup winning team, we now set our sights on preparing for the Rugby League World Cup.
"Whilst those who were named in the inaugural Merit Team deserve recognition, we refocus now on one team with one goal and that is to defend the World Cup on home soil."
The Harvey Norman Jillaroos will kick off their World Cup preparations with a camp next month, with 8 August marking 100 days until the Women’s Rugby League World Cup 2017 matches get underway.
The pool matches and semi-finals will be played at Southern Cross Group Stadium in Sydney from 16 to 26 November, with the men’s and women’s finals played as a double-header at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane on 2 December.
The 2017 Jillaroos Interstate Challenge Merit Team is as follows:
1. Sam Bremner (NSW)
2. Karina Brown – Easts Tigers (QLD)
3. Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
4. Corban McGregor (NSW)
5. Jessica Sergis – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW)
6. Caitlin Moran – North Newcastle (NSW)
7. Maddie Studdon – Redfern All Blacks (NSW)
8. Ruan Sims – Cronulla-Caringbah (NSW)
9. Brittany Breayley – Brothers Ipswich (QLD)
10. Heather Ballinger – West Brisbane Panthers (QLD)
11. Kezie Apps – Helensburgh Tigers (NSW)
12. Jenni-Sue Hoepper – Townsville Women (QLD)
13. Simaima Taufa – Mounties (NSW)
14. Ali Brigginshaw – Brothers Ipswich (QLD)
15. Elianna Walton – Greenacre Tigers (NSW)
16. Lavina Phillips – Redfern All Blacks (NSW)
17. Vanessa Foliaki – East Brisbane Tigers (NSW)