BACK when Brad Donald guiding teams in Group 10 he was not afraid to promote emerging talents and while he since risen through the ranks to become the coach of the Australian women’s team, it is a philosophy he has stuck to.
It helped him to snare a World Cup with the Jillaroos last year and he is hoping that come Saturday night, giving in-form players a chance will pay off in their Test against fierce rivals the Kiwi Ferns in Auckland.
After taking in the action of the inaugural NRLW competition, the former Bathurst Panthers coach has named the likes of Dragons 18-year-old Keeley Davis and Broncos winger Julia Robinson in his team.
“With such a successful squad which went through the World Cup last year we had to take a mix of experience from that and also some youth from the NRLW, it’s very exciting and it was very difficult,” Donald said.
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“There's some notable players that missed out on the squad and it was based on form and exposure to players we haven’t seen before.
“I think we’ve got a mutual respect amongst the girls that the competition has brought out a whole new breed of players and that’s what they wanted to see.
“There’s players like Julia Robinson, who is just a powerhouse, she ripped the competition apart for the Broncos, through to younger players like Keeley Davis, who was outstanding at the St George Illawarra Dragons.”
Saturday’s match will be tough, with the Kiwi Ferns no doubt keen to make amends for their 23-16 loss to the Jillaroos in the World Cup decider.