The first of the World Cup double header at Old Trafford in Manchester saw a lunchtime kick-off between Australia and New Zealand as New Zealand looked to overcome their narrow two-point loss in the group stages and claim a fourth World title after being defeated by Australia on the last two occasions.
Both sides made changes to their semi-final line-ups, Australia´s being wholesale while the Ferns switched just two of their players who defeated England in the semi-final.
It was a game between the sides ranked as first and second in the World, the bookies favouring a Jillaroos win and the first part of a Saturday afternoon Aussie double, but the Kiwi Ferns would give everything that they had to lift the trophy.
Australia kicked off and after seeing off the first set from the Ferns they got a set restart on their first possession, but the New Zealand defence held firm.
Australia were making all the progress with ball in hand and on five minutes Jessica Sergis hit the Ferns defensive line on the ten metre mark and shrugged off two tacklers to go over. The Ali Brigginshaw conversion went over off courtesy of the far upright, the Jillaroos 6-0 ahead and looking ominous already and meaning business.
On fourteen the Aussies were in for their second, Brigginshaw making the initial break before the ball was worked wide left, Isabel Kelly going over on the overlap. Brigginshaw was unable to find the target with the conversion.
On twenty-six a towering Brigginshaw kick to the corner was collected by Julia Robinson after an awkward bounce for the Ferns defence and run over the line. Brigginshaw was again wide with the conversion attempt, but Australia were 14-0 ahead.
New Zealand were engineering attacking position but then making silly errors and coughing up possession.
Kelly got her second try with five minutes of the half remaining busting between two weak tackles to reach for the line to score. Lauren Brown took over the kicking tee and slotted the ball over the crossbar for a 20-0 lead. New Zealand disappointing and out of the game as the clock ticked to the half time hooter.
New Zealand needed to score first in the second half, but it was Emma Tonegato who zig-zagged her wat through the Ferns defence after taking a Brigginshaw inside pass. Brown added the conversion for 26-0, the Jillaroos with one hand on the trophy with thirty minutes remaining.
Returning the kick-off, the Aussies worked the ball close to the line with Sergis getting her second as she slipped but managed to roll out of a tackle and ground. Brown added the conversion, and it was starting to look very embarrassing for the Ferns.
Robinson spilled the ball in the act of scoring on fifty-four to share more Kiwi blushes. But on fifty-six Tarryn Aiken took a long inside pass to run twenty metres for an unopposed four-pointer. Brown added the conversion for 38-0.
New Zealand finally registered their first points, Madison Bartlett on the overlap left to go over from five metres after a cross field passing move. Raecene McGregor was unable to convert from the touchline.
On sixty-six the Aussies got back into their scoring groove with Kennedy Cherrington reversing over the line and grounding on her back Brown added the conversion for 44-4 with twelve minutes remaining.
The fifty was up before the seventieth minute with Cherrington going in under the crossbar for her second of the afternoon, Brigginshaw adding the conversion for a 50-4 lead, an emphatic victory.
Australia were scoring with alarming ease on seventy-two, Evania Pelite pushing off two tacklers and evading two more to score in the left hand corner. This time the conversion was missed from wide, but the lead was fifty points, an awful day for the Ferns.
Australia´s Jillaroos are the Women´s World Cup winners for the third consecutive time after again defeating the New Zealand Kiwi Ferns. In doing do they inflicted New Zealand´s heaviest defeat, eclipsing their 28-8 defeat to the same opposition in the 2019 Trans-Tasman Test. The Aussies were devastatingly on top of their game, but New Zealand were a poor and disappointing second best in what should have been a far more closely fought final. The Women have completed their half of the Aussie double, now it was down to the men to keep their side of the bargain against Samoa.
Australia: Bremner, Robinson (T), Sergis (2T), Kelly (2T), Pelite (T), Aiken (T), Brigginshaw (2G), Mato, Davis, Cherrington (2T), Clydsdale, Apps, Taufa. Subs: Brown (5G), Tonegato (T), Bent, Johnston.
New Zealand: Nicholls, Stephens-Daly, Hufanga, McGregor P, Bartlett (T), Roache, McGregor R, Clark, Rota, Nu´uausala, Murdoch-Masila, Hall, Hale. Subs: Maynard, Hill-Moana, Pule, Stowers.
Score Progression: 4-0, 6-0, 10-0, 14-0, 18-0, 20-0 : HT : 24-0, 26-0, 30-0, 32-0, 36-0, 38-0, 38-4, 42-4, 44-4, 48-4, 50-4, 54-4, : FT .
Lead Exchanges: Australia.
Referee: Belinda Sharpe.
Attendance: ? at Old Trafford, Manchester.