AUSTRALIAN selectors have named an inaugural Harvey Norman Jillaroos Merit Team, based on those who played as part of the recent Women’s Interstate Challenge.
Twelve New South Wales players feature, including Gerringong’s Ruan Sims, while five Queensland players were selected in the team.
The announcement follows the recent confirmation of the Kangaroos Origin Merit Team.
Jillaroos coach Brad Donald congratulated players from both Interstate Challenge teams and said selectors were faced with some tough decisions when finalising the inaugural merit team.
"We're fortunate to have an incredibly talented and committed playing group at the elite level of the women’s game and at a time when women’s pathways in rugby league have never been stronger," Donald said.
"Those in this merit team not only deserve to be named due to their on-field performance, but every one of them has gone above and beyond to include and embrace new audiences, fans and participants, particularly in the lead up to the Interstate Challenge.
"As a Jillaroos squad, which includes a majority of members from both Interstate Challenge teams, a representative from each affiliated state, and a member of the victorious Australian Defence Force World Cup winning team, we now set our sights on preparing for the Rugby League World Cup.
"While those who were named in the inaugural merit team deserve recognition, we refocus now on one team with one goal and that is to defend the World Cup on home soil."
The 2017 Jillaroos Interstate Challenge Merit Team:
1. Sam Bremner (NSW)
2. Karina Brown (QLD)
3. Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
4. Corban McGregor (NSW)
5. Jessica Sergis (NSW)
6. Caitlin Moran (NSW)
7. Maddie Studdon (NSW)
8. Ruan Sims (NSW)
9. Brittany Breayley (QLD)
10. Heather Ballinger (QLD)
11. Kezie Apps (NSW)
12. Jenni-Sue Hoepper (QLD)
13. Simaima Taufa (NSW)
14. Ali Brigginshaw (QLD)
15. Elianna Walton (NSW)
16. Lavina Phillips (NSW)
17. Vanessa Foliaki (NSW)