The Jillaroos kicked off a great and spectaucualr weekend of international Rugby League in Sydney when they ran out convincing winners over the Kiwi Ferns. The 16 - 4 win was orchestrated by the all Quuensland halves combination of Simone Smith and Zahara Temara. New Zealand played their part in an entertaining match which saw them put the Jillaroos under some pressure for long periods but it will be the Aiussies who head the World Cup with the slight advantage.
The men's event went the same way with the Kangaroos continuing their recent dominance over their near neighbours in a 30 - 12 victory over, what many described as one of the best Kiwi teams of all time. The game marked Cameron Smith's 50th Test Match and the Kangaroos 100th victory over New Zealand.
The Kangaroos, like their female equivalents, will gain impetus and encouragemnt for the World Cup from the hard fought but well engineered and deserved win.
At Campbeltown Stadium on Saturday, over 18000 fans gathered for a triple header. In game 1 a double to PNG fullback Stargroth Amean proved the difference as the Kumuls edged a spirited Cook Islands side 30-22 in the opening match of the Pacific Test triple-header at Campbelltown Stadium.
In an entertaining clash that highlighted the growth of the international game, Papua New Guinea’s Intrust Super Cup combinations proved telling with the class of their spine enough to get them over the line.
Game 2 pitted Tonga against Fiji and the game went all the way to the final minute. A double to front-rower Leilani Latu has seen Tonga come from behind to defeat Fiji 26-24 in a brutal encounter at Campbelltown Stadium.
A monster hit from Manu Vatuvei on Kane Evans with three minutes remaining allowed Tonga the chance to win the game with Siliva Havili finding Latu in-close for the Panthers forward to go over for the match winner.
It was the veteran and rookie show on the Tongan left-edge throughout the night with Vatuvei and Moses Suli running for a combined 334 metres.
Completion rates and missed tackle counts went out the window for the Pacific Test as both sides threw caution to the wind on a number of plays with only a week’s preparation heading into the match.
The curtain came down at the end of the evening after England, who travelled with a squad taking a break from the Super League and containing a selection of their NRL based stars, met a really strong Samoa who were anxious to build on their previous meeting in the Four Nations.
It was the English who started the better with Ryan Hall marking his 34th Test Match with his 34th Test Match try - a remarkable strike rate. They lead 14 - 0 at half time and then Samoa hit back led by Anthony Milford. However, not sufficient to trouble England who ran out 30 - 10 winners and head back for further World Cup preparation with some confidence.
The final game of the weekend was played at Cabramatta where Lebanon played Malta in the Phoenician Cup game. The Cedars have qualified for their first ever World Cup and are keen to build some momentum for thier many Sydney based fans. In a competitive game, Lebanion picked up the trophy winning the game 24 - 4.