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Emerging rookies rewarded with Jillaroos merit team recognition

Five rookies who took the field in women's Holden State of Origin on Friday night have been included in a Jillaroos merit team announced on Monday. 

NSW trio Kirra Dibb, Millie Boyle and Botille Vette-Welsh join Queensland pair Amber Pilley and Stephanie Mooka as new faces in the side picked by Jillaroos selectors as a recognition for the players' performances at North Sydney Oval. 

NSW were rewarded most after their 14-4 victory with 10 players named, while Queensland have seven players listed. 

The Blues trailed 4-0 at half-time but overpowered Queensland in the second half in front of 10,515 at North Sydney Oval.

Fresh off a player of the match performance, halfback Maddie Studdon got the nod in the halves alongside Dibb, while Simaima Taufa and Isabelle Kelly are the only Blues players to be named in the side for a consecutive season. 

Jillaroos incumbents Brittany Breayley, Ali Brigginshaw, Holli Wheeler, Hannah Southwell, Annette Brander, and Steph Hancock are all included. 

Match Highlights: Women's Origin - NSW v QLD

Maroons front-rower Chelsea Lenarduzzi has also made her return to the Origin fold in style with recognition in the starting prop role.

"Those in this merit team deserve their place and recognition, as we prepare for plenty more rugby league this year, including the premiership, a nines tournament and a Test match," Jillaroos coach Brad Donald said.

"The skill level of our elite female athletes continues to get better and better and I was so proud of the efforts of every player competing for their respective states.

"We're in a building phase as we start to focus on the 2021 Rugby League World Cup and you can sense between the elite players that there is a healthy level of competition for spots.

"Throw in the talent coming through the Pathways programs, many of whom featured in the Under 18's fixture on Friday night, and it’s the future is bright for women's rugby league."

Telstra Tracker shows dominance of Studdon's performance

Australia Jillaroos Merit Team 2019

  1. Corban McGregor (NSW)
  2. Jess Sergis (NSW)
  3. Amber Pilley (QLD)
  4. Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
  5. Steph Mooka (QLD)
  6. Kirra Dibb (NSW)
  7. Maddie Studdon (NSW)
  8. Chelsea Lenarduzzi (QLD)
  9. Brittany Breayley (QLD)
  10. Simaima Taufa (NSW)
  11. Holli Wheeler (NSW)
  12. Annette Brander (QLD)
  13. Hannah Southwell (NSW)
  14. Ali Brigginshaw (QLD)
  15. Millie Boyle (NSW)
  16. Steph Hancock (QLD)
  17. Botille Vette-Welsh (NSW)
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