On debut for the Kiwi Ferns in their match against Samoa, Kiana Takairangi shone from the front and guided her side to a comprehensive win over Samoa.
Not content with just one try, Takairangi nabbed the first two tries of the game.
With a dash of speed and some nifty feet, her quick-fire double put the Kiwis in a commanding position early.
Veteran Honey Hireme then showcased her own skills, powerfully fending off would-be defenders to score the first of her two tries.
Kathleen Wharton and Raecene McGregor rounded out the Kiwi Ferns scoring for the first half.
The Samoan side would pull one try back through interchange player Billy-Jean Ale, but the road back was a long one despite her effort.
They did start stronger in the second half, though, as winger Moana Fineaso-Levi showed her strength to shrug off two defenders to score.
That fighting spirit was quickly doused, though, as Hireme scored her second, before further tries to Madison Bartlett and Nita Maynard.
A final try to enigmatic fullback Apii Nicholls was the icing on the cake for the Kiwi Ferns, notching up an easy 46-8 win.
Despite the result, Samoa can hold their heads high, with this international their first in eight years.
Out to prove themselves as a powerhouse, Kiwi Ferns captain Hireme said the plan was to go out and dominate.
“Yeah, 100%,” said the veteran captain.
“We set out to really dominate this game and with the amount of points we put on, I think we achieved that.”
With new coach Justin Morgan at the helm, Hireme praised his efforts and the rejuvenation of the team under his wing.
“It’s been really energised and really fresh,” continued Hireme.
“The girls just are just enjoying each other’s company and we knew we had to put out a big performance today and that’s what we done.”
With so many kicking down doors to represent the Kiwi Ferns, Hireme was ecstatic with the performance of all debutants.
“I think they all deserve player of the match,” she said.
“They really came out and proved a point that they deserve the jersey.”
Samoan enforcer Elianna Walton was brutally honest in her post-game assessment, admitting Samoa were patchy but praised their competitive spirit.
“We were patchy at times,” said Walton.
“We just kept competing and that’s all we could ask from the girls, you know?
“To play with pride. It was such a spectacle to play against a heavyweight nation like New Zealand.”
NRL News Player of the Game
3. Kiana Takairangi
2. Honey Hireme
- Apii Nicholls