Women's Rugby League World Cup: Australia cruise into final after dominant 82-0 win over Papua New Guinea
Isabelle Kelly secured a first half hat-trick before Emma Tonegato secured three of her own; Australia will now face the winner of England vs New Zealand in the Women's Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford on November 19, with kick-off at 1.15pm
By Megan Wellens
Last Updated: 14/11/22 9:42pm
Emma Tonegato was the star of a try-filled encounter as Australia cruised to an 82-0 victory over Papua New Guinea and secured their place in the Women's Rugby League World Cup final.
Australia entered the first semi-final of the night as favourites and after they withstood the pressure from the Papua New Guinea pack, it was evident why.
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Isabelle Kelly ran riot down the left-hand edge, scoring a hat-trick of tries within the first 38 minutes as the PNG defence struggled with the pace of the Jillaroos.
Keeley Davis, Shaylee Bent, Evania Pelite, Shenae Ciesiolka and Olivia Kernick then also joined her early on the scoresheet to give Australia a healthy 40-0 at the break.
The second half saw Australia continue to show their try-scoring ability across the field, Jess Sergis, Ciesolka and Tallisha Harden and Jaime Chapman going over as Tonegato secured her hat-trick in a player-of-the-match performance.
Story of the match
It was a foggy and slippy encounter in York and that showed in the early minutes of this huge contest, the ever-present Elsie Albert knocking on for Papua New Guinea before Taliah Fuimaono kicked out on the full for the Jillaroos.
After Papua New Guinea's pack applied some real early pressure, the first try came for Australia after just 10 minutes, Davis diving over from short range after a break down the left-hand side.
It then took them just eight minutes for Kelly to secure a double, breaking down the left-hand side on both occasions to increase her side's lead to 14-0 with 22 minutes left of the half.
Their first-half scoring didn't stop there as Australia really showed their attacking prowess, Lauren Brown stepping close to the line to send Bent in under the sticks before Pelite registered one down the short side to put the Jillaroos 24-0 up with 15 minutes of the half still to play.
The try of the first 40 then came Tonegato broke downfield from halfway, holding the defender long enough to send Ciesiolka over as the fifth different try scorer of the half.
With just over five minutes left of the half, Kernick scored from close range before Kelly completed her hat-trick, with Brown converting to give her side a 40-0 advantage at half-time.
After the break the Jillaroos were quick to add more points to their ever-growing tally, Kelly breaking to send Sergis over in the corner after just three minutes with Ciesiolka then adding her second in the other corner moments later, Brown converting to give Australia a 52-0 lead with 33 minutes to play.
It was then Harden's turn to join in the scoring fun as she powered over from close range before Tonegato added her double, the full-back finding her second with a spectacular break.
After withstanding so much pressure, PNG finally got a period with the ball in hand but just couldn't make it count and when possession came back their way, the Jillaroos were over the whitewash once again, Chapman breaking 90 metres downfield on a brilliant solo run to secure her hat-trick.
There was just over five minutes left to play but Tonegato wanted her hat-trick and she claimed it, stepping and finishing off a silky passing play from Australia, Ali Brigginshaw adding the extras to give the Jillaroos 82-0 victory.
It was a near-perfect performance from the Jillaroos and one that stamps their authority heading into the Rugby League World Cup Final at Old Trafford.