EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea Baker and Jillaroos the world champs
EXCLUSIVE: Gladstone Wallaby's and Australian Jillaroos' winger Chelsea Baker said it was coach Brad Donald who provided calming words at half-time on way to a thrilling 23-16 win against New Zealand Ferns at Brisbane Stadium.
Australia have now claimed back-to-back Rugby League Women World Cup titles after Caitlin Moran kicked a field goal to ice the game and Moran's team-mate Ali Brigginshaw was Player of the Match.
When full-back Nakia Davis-Welsh set up Isabelle Kelly, Moran converted to put Jillaroos on the board first, the Kiwis then set upon a physical assault early in the final.
But, Baker and her Jillaroos settled to lead 12-10 at half-time on the back of half-back Moran's brilliant solo effort to try.
"We had a heads down at half-time as though we were losing and he lifted us and he reminded us that we were actually winning," an elated Baker said just an hour after the match.
"It's just an amazing feeling and I'm on cloud nine.
"It has all come to fruition and something I have been aiming for in the last 12 months and it means everything to me."
Baker dropped a catch from a high ball early in the decider which led to Ferns' Raecene McGregor to produce a searching and well-weighted pass to Honey Hireme.
But the Aussie number five eased into the game and produced a crucial tackle late in the game that could have potentially levelled the scores.
"I had a couple of stutters to start with, but settled down," Baker said.
"It was definitely the toughest game I have ever played in."
In an epic and bruising battle, the Jillaroos got on top in the first half of the back end of the match.
The Aussie had one hand on the World Cup as Kiwi Player of the Tournament Teuila Fotu-Moala struggled to get into the match.
Elianna Walton crashed in for a try after she came off the bench and Jillaroos led 22-10 with 23-minutes left.
New Zealand reduced the deficit by half when Krystal Murray fended off a defender to help McGregor to cross the try.
But the previously untested Jillaroos defence stepped up when needed most and Baker provided the resilience in a final which was the perfect send-off for Stephanie Hancock and Renae Kunst.