Jillaroos find gains from pain at Gold Coast camp

Australian Jillaroos coach Brad Donald has responded to squad feedback by ordering a summer training camp on the Gold Coast this week.

A group of 24 players assembled on Tuesday to kick-start 2019.

The side's World Cup defence officially kicks off in 2021 but preparations are already underway.

Locations for the women's World Cup in the UK were unveiled on Wednesday with Liverpool's Anfield to host the opening ceremony and the final set down for Old Trafford in Manchester.

"We got together girls that we know have been at the top of the game for a while that we think will go on to the 2021 World Cup," Donald told NRL.com from the Gold Coast.

"It's very similar to what we did when I first took over the team – talk about the Jillaroos' values, systems, behaviours and vision – we reviewed all that.

"The feedback that came back from the girls last year was that we lost touch with them throughout the year even though a majority of them were in the top 40 system."

 
 
 
 
 
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5am-10am bootcamp! 😅 What a challenging/rewarding morning 🙌🏽✅ @jillaroos

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Amid all the excitement of the NRLW and Holden Women's State of Origin, international rugby league was in the background for most of the year.

The Jillaroos played just one end-of-season international against the Kiwi Ferns last October.

"There was so much focus on club footy, playing for their regions at nationals, their states and NRLW clubs," Donald said.

"They thought the Jillaroos group trail blazed. We've taken that on board. We've got them in camp now and will do so again in August between the two seasons to keep that contact.

"They are very vocal and take a lot of control in ensuring the culture and standards are upheld while doing some long-term planning for the 2021 World Cup."

Part of the camp included a 3am start at Palm Beach Currumbin.

"There were a number of things that came as a surprise to them and it was so good to see," Donald said.

"They had no idea what was going on the next day. We turned a board around at 9.30pm after the RLPA spoke to them and told them they needed to be in the team meeting room by 3am the next morning.

 
 
 
 
 
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Training today in one of my happy places ... the @jillaroos team 🏈💚💛 #jillaroos #rugbyleague #119

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"They didn't know where they were going. Even through the activities, we didn't give away how long they were going to be there for. To their credit, there wasn't one ounce of complaint."

Donald even pointed out that self-discipline was on show in camp.

"It was exceptionally physical and at the end of it the leadership group grabbed a couple of the girls who were late to a session the day before," he said.

"They went down and did beach sprints for penalties. The way they helped each other through it and what we learnt about them under duress. I'd find it hard to find anyone who had a bad experience."

A further 50 development players are expected to join the camp on Saturday.