Emotional Tregonning reflects on Wallaroos growth after quarter-final exit

Mon, Oct 31, 2022, 3:50 AM
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Wallaroos flyer Mahalia Murphy catches up with some of her teammates during camp at the Gold Coast.

Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning is hoping their quarter-final defeat to England can be used as a launchpad for the future of the program.

The Australians were outclassed by the world number ones, going down 41-5 in torrential conditions.

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It brings an end to a positive year for the Wallaroos, having spent the past two years sidelined due to COVID.

They showed the benefits of an expanded Test calendar, taking considerable leaps from their opening Test against Fijiana in May.

It allowed the likes of Bienne Terita, Arabella McKenzie and Grace Kemp to establish themselves as key players for the future as the likes of Grace Hamilton, Emily Chancellor, Lori Cramer and Georgina Friedrichs showcased their class.

“I think from an individual program point of view the next few years look really exciting," Tregonning said after the match.

“I’ve said it before although our girls aren’t paid professionals, their work ethic and effort are professional. You can’t discount the amount of time and effort the girls have put in.

“We showed out there we can compete against fully professional teams, we just need to get a couple of things right.

“You look at the young players in the team like Grace Kemp, Piper Duck, Layne Morgan, there are some outstanding players there.”

The defeat shows the improvements still needed in the group if they wish to compete with the best in the world.

Their set-piece was no match for England whilst discipline continues to haunt the side as gave away their fifth yellow card of the tournament.

It was clear to see what the defeat and journey meant to the group, with Tregonning holding back tears during his post-game interview whilst the players spent several minutes huddled on field reaffirming their commitment to one another.

"I know some of the girls were probably disappointed with that result too, which is good and that's what we want,” Tregonning explained.

“We want the girls to be striving to be the best they can be and I think a few of them out there would know there are few things that they could have done better

“We’ve all seen the growth over the past couple of months, sometimes you’re around them fairly often and you so invested in them, you don’t see as much as others who are coming in and out of it. We’ve had plenty of people say just how far this team has come.

"We're really proud of the effort the girls have put in but also the way we've been able to get the best out of the tournament.”

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