Brigginshaw brilliant as Jillaroos triumph in World Cup final against Kiwi Ferns
The Jillaroos have secured their third consecutive Women's World Cup title in style with a comprehensive 54-4 victory over New Zealand at Old Trafford on Sunday (AEDT).
With veteran halfback Ali Brigginshaw pulling the strings, Australia were far too good for their Trans-Tasman rivals, extending their winning streak to 16 consecutive international victories with a 10-tries-to-one triumph over the Kiwi Ferns, who have now lost three straight World Cup finals to the Jillaroos.
Having scraped past New Zealand by two points just nine days earlier, it was a much more methodical performance from the green and gold this time around as Brad Donald's side rose to the occasion of the final.
Kennedy Cherrington scored two tries for the Jillaroos (Getty Images)
Star centre duo Jess Sergis and Isabelle Kelly both crossed in the opening quarter of the match to put the Jillaroos on top before tries to Julia Robinson and a second to Kelly just before the break gave Australia a commanding 20-0 half-time lead.
Having moved to lock as one of seven changes for Australia's semi-final win over Papua New Guinea, Brigginshaw's return to the halves proved the difference early on, with the co-captain instrumental in her side's opening three tries.
Setting up Sergis with a deft short pass for the opening try, Brigginshaw soon broke open the Kiwi Ferns defence for the second — her break allowing Tarryn Aiken to send Kelly over for the first of her two two tries on the left edge.
The 32-year-old would then put Broncos teammate Julia Robinson over with a clever kick in behind the defence to extend the Jillaroos' first half dominance.
There was no slowing down after half-time either from Brigginshaw or Australia.
The Jillaroos celebrate another try (Getty Images)
The veteran playmaker took just eight minutes in the second half to chalk up her third try assist with a clever inside pass for Emma Tonegato to race through and score.
She then sent her co-captain Kezie Apps through moments later — gifting Sergis her second try of the afternoon and the Jillaroos a commanding 32-0 lead.
With the green and gold extending their lead to 38-0 when Aiken crossed in the 56th minute, it was fast turning into a disastrous scoreline for the Kiwi Ferns and comfortably their heaviest defeat in international rugby league.
There would be a brief moment of joy for the New Zealand fans with Maddison Bartlett finishing off a nice team move on the left wing late on.
Madison Bartlett crosses for the Kiwi Ferns (Getty Images)
However, it would be a short-lived celebration with Australia finishing the match in style — Kennedy Cherrington grabbing a double in the space of three minutes to bring up the half century for the Jillaroos for the fourth time in five World Cup games.