Ferns return to Test match action in style
Despite being greeted by a sea of red flags in what was supposed to be a home fixture, the Kiwi Ferns have picked up where they left off with a dominant 50-12 win over Tonga in their women's rugby league Test.
Led by the effective halves pairing of Raecene McGregor and Laishon Jones, the Kiwi Ferns were going at a point a minute after the first 15 minutes, then launched a three try blitz before halftime to kill the game off as a contest.
Centre Page McGregor, the younger sister of Raecene, crossed after only four minutes after she found a big hole on the Tongan edge defence.
Madison Bartlett and Katelyn Vaha'akolo followed in quick succession, as the NRLW experience in the Kiwi Ferns became evident at Mt Smart Stadium.
Most of the side have played in the fast-growing NRLW, and their superior physicality was always going to make this an uphill battle for the Tongan side that was mostly drawn from the local Auckland club competition.
After the halftime deficit stood at 30-0, the onslaught continued from the Kiwi Ferns in the second half.
Kararaina Wira-Kohu crossed after only a couple of minutes of the restart, then Bartlett got her second only three minutes later.
However, the biggest cheer were for the two Tongan tries, with China Polata barging over from close range and then Haylee Hifo streaking away just before fulltime.
The rapturous reception made by the big crowd saw Tongan flags flying and was the perfect way to usher in the men's game that followed.
The Kiwi Ferns will be happy with their performance, although they did let the foot off the gas later in the game
Also, Jones will be wanting to practice her kicking before they play next, as she only landed three from 11 shots at goal.
This win was an important stepping stone for the Kiwi Ferns as they head into the Rugby League World Cup later this year, to be held in England.
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