Former Bathurst Panther Brad Donald praises players after Jillaroos down Kiwi Ferns in World Cup final

CELEBRATE: Brad Donald (back row, white shirt) and the Jillaroos celebrate winning the Women's Rugby League World Cup on Saturday. Photo: DARREN ENGLAND/ AAP
CELEBRATE: Brad Donald (back row, white shirt) and the Jillaroos celebrate winning the Women's Rugby League World Cup on Saturday. Photo: DARREN ENGLAND/ AAP

Former Bathurst Panther and current Jillaroos coach Brad Donald feels it’s only a matter of time before Australia has women's national rugby league competition.

But despite that, he and his World Cup winning players don’t want it rushed.

The Jillaroos claimed back-to-back Cups with a 23-16 win over the Kiwi Ferns in Saturday's final at Suncorp Stadium after a try scoring double by centre Isabelle Kelly.

It only added momentum to plans to launch a women's competition next year with up to six NRL-affiliated teams.

Donald said the Jillaroos, a squad featuring Parkes Talesha Quinn and former Orange Hawks player Vanessa Foliaki, had been pushing for the league for some time but were now wary of the NRL fast-tracking the concept and fielding an inferior product.

Worse still, Donald said the Jillaroos feared new players cutting their teeth in the sport could be at risk of injury if a new league fielded too many teams.

"It is something this group has been driving for for some time," Donald said.

"And what people don't realise is that these current shareholders (Jillaroos) in the game are really careful about what they want to do with the game."

The NRL is in talks to launch the new female league with a proposed end of year tournament in 2018.

"One of the things we need to see is that if we've got a national competition, people want to watch it and the girls have worked hard to get there and earned their right to be a part of it," Donald said.

"The girls understand the responsibility to make sure we don't just put 16 teams worth of women into NRL jumpers.

"There's girls like the ones that played (in the Cup final) who have worked their backsides off for years to make sure they're strong enough … they treat the game professionally.

Donald believed a women's NRL competition was inevitable after the Jillaroos held off the three-time champion Kiwi Ferns to win 23-16 on Saturday afternoon and cap off a dominant and undefeated 2017 tournament.

"One of their goals was to win the Cup but the other is to inspire young girls to play footy," Donald said.

"One day we will see an NRL competition. If these guys keep going the way they are we are not that far away."