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Tonegato firms as Australia No.1 favourite

3 minute read

A starring role for NSW in their Women's State of Origin win has made Emma Tonegato favourite for the Australian fullback role at the coming Women's World Cup.

Star fullback Emma Tonegato insists she hasn't looked ahead to October's Women's Rugby League World Cup despite her stunning 2022 form.

The 2016 Olympic rugby sevens gold medallist has added a State of Origin winner's medal to her league trophy cabinet alongside the Dally M Medal she won in April, having scored a try and played a vital role as NSW took down Queensland 20-14 on Friday night.

That has helped her edge ahead of Queensland No.1 Tamika Upton in the race for the Jillaroos' starting fullback role, although she told reporters after the Origin victory speculation she'd represent Australia was premature.

"They can talk if they want," she said.

"I'm not looking past (Origin), I'm focused on one thing at a time and just going to enjoy the win.

"If it comes up, I'll have a think about it when that happens."

Tonegato had earlier this year maintained a non-committal stance in regard to playing Origin, the World Cup and in a second NRLW campaign from August.

However, she has since penned a new deal to remain with St George Illawarra and was crucial in the Blues' strong win on Friday night.

The 27-year-old played for Australia at the 2013 World Cup before switching to sevens, with the NRLW season earlier this year her first campaign.

Having returned to league to join the code's rapid ascension, Tonegato was only too happy to stay on Canberra's GIO Stadium for almost an hour after fulltime on Friday night, mingling with every fan that had waited to meet her.

"It's awesome ... everybody's here and made the effort to come out and see us and I think it was about 11,000 (spectators)," she said.

"(I want to) give back to the girls. So many girls are telling me that they're playing and they want to play on this stage one day, so it's the least I can do."

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