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Murphy and Hamilton cast eyes over Wallaroos Indigenous jersey options

Wallaroos star Mahalia Murphy has revealed she and captain Grace Hamilton have been busy submitting individual scores for Indigenous jersey designs that the team will wear in the near future.

After the overwhelming success of the men’s Indigenous jersey, first worn against the All Blacks in 2017 and again at Twickenham last year, Rugby Australia has given the tick of approval for its women's XVs side to wear an original design of their own, likely to be in 2021.

Mahalia Murphy and captain Grace Hamilton.

Mahalia Murphy and captain Grace Hamilton.Credit:James Alcock

Murphy, of indigenous heritage, said it was an honour to be given the task of voting for a jersey design. Sitting next to her laptop at home last week before travelling to Perth for Saturday’s Test against New Zealand, Murphy got the pen and notepad out while assessing 29 different options sent to her via email.

Jerseys were given a mark out of 15 - five points for the design, five for the power of the story and five in terms of how it could be put on a jersey.


While there were no perfect 15 out of 15 scores, Murphy said the majority of options provided by the artist, yet to be confirmed by RA, were brilliant and meant a lot to her.

"Myself and Grace had a view of them and had to send in scorecards," Murphy said. "So we will crack down and see who has got the most points and go with that one.

"It’s really awesome to have the design on our jersey because our culture is really strong to this land and there is a beautiful connection between us and this land and the way we nurture the land we walk on. I think it is really important because we are representing this country, not just a state.

"It will add pride to our jersey as well."

Assistant coach Matt Tink gave a fascinating insight on Wednesday into what the weekend’s match means to his players.

Few will give the Wallaroos a chance given they have lost 17 on the trot to the world No.1 Kiwis but Tink was optimistic when asked why his team had a chance in front of what should be a big crowd at Optus Stadium.

"Mate, it’s a Test match, you have to believe that you can win," Tink said. "We’re not making up the numbers, it’s not an exhibition game. There is a genuine belief among our girls.

"You talk to these girls, they’re playing for their country. This morning we had to tell a few girls they wouldn’t be in the 23 and they were really upset because it means a lot to them.

"These girls have a professional head but an amateur heart. They do all this for love. They’re the Wallabies of the 70s and 80s. They go to work, study and live with mum and dad so they can play rugby."

Tink said Australia’s set-piece needed to be more polished after 31-11 and 45-17 defeats to New Zealand in Sydney and Auckland respectively last year.

"We want top quality ball in attack from both scrum and lineout," Tink said. "We really need to stay in the fight there and defensively we have to disrupt some of their ball. They launch off good ball and their nine is a great player.

"If can disrupt some of their set-piece ball at the source, that will give our defence a good chance to get off the line and go whack.

"Apparently they are the No.1 side in the world and they’ve earned the right to be called that but we are not viewing them as that. New Zealand are great athletes and great rugby players but they are just two arms and two legs."

Tom Decent is a journalist with The Sydney Morning Herald

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