Aussie Rules legend Rebecca Packers heartbreak has been laid to rest with a stunning win over a formidable Irish side.
Packers, who has now played every game of her career, was one of only five Australian teams to reach the quarter-finals of the Women’s World Cup, winning the title for the third time.
The victory over the Irish squad in Dublin on Friday night put her back in the conversation as the all-time leading women’s player in the world, and she is the only Australian to have won both the W-League and Women’s Super Rugby titles.
Packer won the title with a career-best 50-yard volley to put her two tries in the net.
“I’m absolutely delighted to have my hat in the ring again,” Packers said.
“That’s one of my all-longest memories.
I’m just so proud of the way I’ve played.
I’ve got such a long career ahead of me and I’m really looking forward to it.”
Packers’ 50-metre volley against the Irish women in Dublin was the first time a player had ever kicked a 50 in a quarter-final match at the World Cup.
Packes is the second Australian woman to claim a W-Lorries trophy after Jillen Wilkinson in 2005.
Pack was also named in the Women of the Year award and in the All Australian team for the first consecutive year, with former captain Jess Hogg, who won a Super Rugby title in 2018, also named.
Pack has since played in a number of major tournaments including the Women International Rugby Sevens Series, Women’s Sevens World Cup and the World Rugby Seven Nations Series.
She said she had been overwhelmed by the support from her countrymen, especially the support of the NRL.
“It was amazing watching the reaction from the fans and the support I’ve received from all of the players, the coaches and the staff,” she said.
Pack said she felt confident in her game heading into the quarter final.
“Every time you play at the Olympics, it’s always going to be a big moment for you,” she added.
“But for me, it just goes back to how I’ve been playing for so long.
It’s been really exciting and hopefully I can keep it going.”
Packer’s historic record of five championships and two medals in the women’s game has now been broken, and it was her first victory since 2008.
She was also the first Australian woman since the 1970s to be named an All Australian and the first women’s All Australian in Super Rugby history.
Pack’s career-high 50-plus score in the tournament will be remembered as the first by a player at the event.
She has since racked up an impressive number of wins.
“She’s a big-game player,” Packer said of her rival.
“The fact that she’s got a 50-meter volley and a couple of other things like that, it was a big deal for me.
I think it’s a really good start to the World Cups.
That’s what she wants, it comes naturally to her. “
You’ve got to go out and play every game.
That’s what she wants, it comes naturally to her.
It makes it a lot easier when you play every night.”
Pack was joined by teammates Chloe O’Connell, Shannon Cole and Emily O’Brien.