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Jillaroos name rookie halves for Kiwi Test

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 30/04/2017 Scott Bailey

The Australian women's rugby league team are set to unleash a rookie halves combination on New Zealand in Friday's rugby league Test in Canberra.

Uncapped youngsters Zahara Temara and Simone Smith have been selected in the halves for the Jillaroos, as preparations continue for the World Cup defence later this year.

Regular five-eighth Allana Ferguson was ruled out with a shoulder injury, while incumbent halfback Maddie Studdon was named on an extended bench as part of the 20-woman squad.

Temara, 19, grew up playing rugby union in New Zealand but moved to the Gold Coast and the 13-a-side game at age 11.

Smith has made her mark since debuting for the Indigenous All-Stars last year and now looks set to claim her first Test jersey after missing NSW Origin selection last year.

The Jillaroos have also also welcomed back co-captains Ruan Sims and Steph Hancock from injury, following a Gold Cost camp with an extended 25-person squad as they attempt to beat the Kiwi Ferns for just the third time in their history.

"The coaching staff have been very pleased with the effort shown right throughout the 25-strong squad that have trained together on the Gold Coast these past few days," coach Brad Donald said.

"We're confident that the team we've picked will be ready for the clash on Friday and we're looking forward to playing in front of a big home crowd in Canberra."

The Australians lost last year's mid-year Test to New Zealand, but won the same event in 2015 as well as the 2013 World Cup final against their trans-Tasman rivals.

Jillaroos 20-woman squad: Sam Bremner, Karina Brown, Corban McGregor, Caitlin Moran, Chelsea Baker, Zahara Temara, Simone Smith, Ruan Sims, Brittany Breayley, Heather Ballinger, Renae Kunst, Annette Brander, Simaima Taufu, Ali Brigginshaw, Rebecca Young, Elliana Walton, Amelia Kuk, Maddie Studdon, Isabelle Kelly, Kody House.

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