Rugby league: Kiwi Ferns call for more internationals to continue rapid growth of women's rugby league

NZ Rugby League is pushing for a world record crowd at Saturday's women's test between the Kiwi Ferns and Tonga at Mt Smart Stadium.

Almost all of the Ferns squad can boast NRLW experience, as the competition continues to strengthen the women's game, and players are calling for more internationals to ensure that growth continues.

Women's Rugby League is at an all time high and the Kiwi Ferns know the spotlight will be on them this weekend. 

"I'm probably going to overuse the word 'excited' this week because that is what I am," Kiwi Ferns half Georgia Hale told Newshub. "But being back in this space is so special."

The success of the women's NRL competition has heightened interest in the game. 

With players involved in professional environments, standards are on the up on and off the field, and the Ferns hope to reap the rewards against Tonga this week. 

"With girls coming back from their NRLW spaces, they're bringing their own wisdom and learnings from club land," she noted.

"Although we are still semi-professional, being in those professional spaces, it all contributes to here."

And players say more games on the international stage is the next critical step in their development.

"That would be awesome," said wing Madison Bartlett. "It would be cool to have a couple more tests each year." 

"It's definitely been missing," added Hale  "I know there was so much fuel in the fire for us to all come back. Putting on the jersey today, there's so much behind that."

Both teams will use this week to build towards the world cup later this year, which is set to be the biggest yet. 

"We're looking this week for success this week, not just with a win on Saturday, but within our camp, then hopefully when we win that trophy at the end of the year," said Hales. "This all adds to it."

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