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Wallaroos skipper Parry retires on a winning note

By AAP
Shannon Parry of the Wallaroos is carried off the field after victory during the Women's International match between the Australia Wallaroos and Fijiana at Allianz Stadium on May 20, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

The Wallaroos sent captain Shannon Parry into retirement on a successful note, charging to a 22-5 win over Fijiana in the women’s rugby Test at Sydney’s Allianz Stadium.

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Winger Maya Stewart scored two tries, and outstanding flanker and player of the match Ashley Marsters was involved in setting up all four of their five-pointers as the home team proved too clinical for their opposition.

Australia scored the first three tries and 17 points of the game, but made a number of desperate last-ditch tackles before a spell of Fijiana pressure was rewarded with their sole five-pointer in the 60th minute.

Flanker Parry, who was part of four Australian World Cup squads and also the gold-medal winning 2016 Olympics sevens team, earlier this week announced she would be retiring after Saturday’s game, her 24th Test.

“‘It was a nice way to finish the career on a positive note, but I think the team really put in a good effort there tonight,” Parry said.

“We were challenged a lot by Fiji in various parts of the game, I really thought we scrambled well and really hung in the fight.”

“It’s been a long career but I’ve loved every minute of it.”

Marsters showed the depth of Australia’s back row stocks with a commanding. performance.

“She just loves playing rugby, you can. see her skill set,” Wallaroos coach Jay Tregonning said Marsters, who he had also seen play on the wing and halfback.

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Australia took just five minutes to hit the front with inside centre Cecilia Smith crossing for a try.

Quickly recycling following a big run from Marsters deep into Fijiiana territory, halfback Layne Morgan got the ball to Smith who slipped through a gap to score.

The home team doubled their advantage in the 19th minute with a devastating counterattack after they turned over the ball in Fijiana territory.

Two debutantes, five-eighth Carys Dallinger and teenage fullback Faitala Molokai, handled before Marsters threw the final fine pass to winger Maya Stewart.

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Fijiana gave their always colourful and enthusiastic supporters some moments of cheer with some powerful runs, offloads and support play, but were held pointless through the first half, which finished with Australia leading 10-0.

The ubiquitous Marsters notched another assist when she sent Stewart flying over the line for her second try five minutes into the second half.

Fijiana then had their best part of the match, with two players held up over the line and Australia forced to defend until replacement front rower Bitila Tawake barged over on the hour.

Australia reasserted themselves and another strong passage of play ended with Marsters throwing the pass to winger Ivania Wong for the home team’s fourth try.

“I thought the whole team put in an awesome performance,” Tregonning said.

“The defence was massive. To keep a side like Fiji to five points with their entertaining unpredictability was pretty special for the group.”

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