The Māori Ferns will take on the Kiwi Ferns for the first time in Hamilton on November 4th, as part of the national squad’s preparation for the Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
Furthermore, The Māori Ferns are set to play in a historical fixture against the Indigenous Australian Women’s team next year.
It's been a long time coming, but the wāhine will finally play international teams.
Māori Ferns coach Victor Heke says, “We've been working on it for a few years now, and we've got to prove ourselves obviously to the World Stage.”
The fixture will benefit both teams with the Kiwi Ferns expecting a tough time against the favourites the Jillaroos.
New Zealand Māori Rugby League chairman John Devonshire says, “It's a win-win for the Kiwi Ferns, they get a pre-tournament game, we get a chance, and our Wahine get a chance to wear the Māori Ferns jersey.”
Heke says, “We want them to bring the World Cup home, and it's really special because we've got a lot of Māori players in that Kiwi Ferns side. I think over 50 percent are Māori."
There is an abundance of players to select, with over 200 players making themselves available for the team.
“The calibre of football has been really special this weekend. Given the Kiwi Ferns weren't able to play this weekend, what is here is just as good, if not then better.”
With more games planned for the Māori side, the annual Māori Rugby League tournament is likely to grow.
m“I hope the rest of the world sees the quality of our Māori wahine, and our men, and it's going to allow us more games each year, so that makes our tournament more significant.”
Win or lose, the November 4 fixture against the Kiwi Ferns will be significant for Māori League.