Victoria has named a 24 player squad to compete at the Women’s National XVs Championship at St Ignatius College Riverview in Sydney from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 June. The squad includes players from all six sides that contest the Victorian women’s club competition including no less than nine Unicorns.
The team will play pool games on Friday and Saturday before the playoff games start on Sunday. This year Victoria is in Pool A along with last year’s champions Sydney, Western Australia and the Australian Defence Force.
Head Coach Alana Thomas said the Victorian team will be looking to improve on last year’s 5th place finish.
“We will be looking to place higher than last year, which saw us win the Plate Division.
“Last year the first day’s games were our trial matches as we had not played together before so expectations are higher due to the longer program and the trial matches last weekend.”
Twelve players that made their state debut at the Southern States Tournament last weekend have been named in the final squad.
Two of the debutants that Thomas thinks have bright futures are prop Hope Davis-Pirihi and flanker Melanie KItchin.
“Hope Is 18 years old and in her first year of rugby and she is not afraid to put her body on the line. She’s definitely a player of the future.
“Melanie is a former state netballer and is a great athlete. She has a slight frame but she hits harder than most men and is everywhere on the field.”
The Victorian team includes three current Wallaroos in Ashley Marsters, Oneata Schwalger and Samantha Trehearne, and Thomas is hoping Victoria will be able to add to that number.
Following the tournament, a 32 player Wallaroos squad will be announced to go into camp to prepare for a two test series against the New Zealand Black Ferns in in October. The tour will include the curtain-raiser for the third Bledisloe Cup Test on October 22 at Eden Park.
Victorian Women’s State Team:
Bridget Inder (Melbourne), Hope Davis-Pirihi (Melbourne), Titilia Yabaki (Moorabbin), Oneata Schwalger (Melbourne), Silei Poluleuligaga (Uni), Lin Felise (Moorabbin), Jennifer Lundh (Melbourne), Katrina Crumpler (Uni), Kristin Hayward (Melbourne), Alice Tonumaivao (Western Districts), Aroha Nukunuku (Melbourne), Melanie Kitchin (Box Hill/Harlequins), Rebecca Walker (Melbourne)
Anita Brickle (Melbourne), Ellen Johnson (Melbourne), Ashley Marsters (Box Hill/Harlequins), Tauala Hunt (Moorabbin), Jayne Kareroa (Moorabbin), Melinda Kosanic (Power House), Kereni Nabalarua (Box Hill/Harlequins), Samantha Treherne (Western Districts), Amy Pearce (Box Hill/Harlequins), Lauren Abbott (Box Hill/Harlequins), Mary Fonua (Moorabbin)
Source: Rebels Media Unit