Dally M medallist Tamika Upton, along with two other NRLW players, is set to make her international debut for the Jillaroos. Upton had a stellar 2023 season, leading the Knights to consecutive premierships and receiving the Karyn Murphy Medal for the second time as player of the match. Her fellow Knights players, Yasmin Clydesdale and Caitaln Johnston, have also been selected for the squad. However, 18-year-old halfback Jesse Southwell did not make the cut. Joining Upton for their international debut are Cowboys hooker Emma Manzelmann and Titans prop Jessika Elliston.
The selection of Upton and her teammates highlights their exceptional performances in the NRLW and their ability to stand out among their peers. Upton’s back-to-back premiership wins with the Knights and her individual recognition as player of the match twice demonstrate her impact on the field. Clydesdale and Johnston’s inclusion further highlights their contributions to the Knights’ success.
However, the absence of Southwell, an 18-year-old halfback, raises questions about the selection process. Southwell’s exclusion may be disappointing for her, but it also shows the high level of competition within the Jillaroos squad. It can be assumed that the selectors chose experienced players over young talents like Southwell, prioritizing the team’s overall performance and success.
In addition to Upton and her teammates, coach Brad Donald has included veteran halfback Ali Brigginshaw, despite her injury concerns. This decision demonstrates the value of Brigginshaw’s experience and leadership on the field. Despite missing the end of the NRLW season due to a finger injury, superstar Roosters duo Isabelle Kelly and Jess Sergis have also been selected. This decision showcases the selectors’ confidence in their abilities to perform at the international level.
The Jillaroos will face the Kiwi Ferns in Townsville, marking an important match for both teams. The rivalry between the Jillaroos and Kiwi Ferns adds an extra layer of excitement to the game, with both teams looking to prove their dominance. The inclusion of debutants like Upton, Manzelmann, and Elliston adds a sense of anticipation as fans eagerly anticipate their performances on the international stage.
The Jillaroos’ squad announcement also sheds light on the depth of talent in women’s rugby league. The inclusion of players from different teams, such as the Knights, Cowboys, and Titans, further emphasizes the growth and popularity of the NRLW. It shows that talent is not concentrated in a few teams but is spread across the league, making for a competitive and exciting tournament.
Overall, the selection of Tamika Upton, along with Yasmin Clydesdale, Caitaln Johnston, Emma Manzelmann, and Jessika Elliston, for the Jillaroos squad highlights their exceptional performances in the NRLW and their readiness to represent their country. The inclusion of experienced players like Ali Brigginshaw, Isabelle Kelly, and Jess Sergis shows the importance of their leadership and skills. As the Jillaroos prepare to face the Kiwi Ferns in Townsville, the stage is set for an exciting and competitive match between two talented teams. The breadth of talent across different teams further showcases the growth and popularity of women’s rugby league.
Stay Up-to-Date WithRugby News at sportyjones.com