They've taken the NRLW competition by storm, but Jillaroos coach Brad Donald understands why rugby sevens converts Ellia Green and Evania Pelite won't be lighting up the State of Origin stage next month.
Green and Pelite showed why they are 2016 gold-medallists after starring in the Warriors' 22-10 dead rubber win over a 16-player St George Illawarra side on Saturday.
Injuries and a suspension left the Dragons with a three-woman bench in their third and final regular season clash, paying the price by finishing with the wooden spoon.
Green and Pelite took full advantage for the New Zealand-based Warriors side, who themselves were only patched together a week before the campaign due to coronavirus restrictions.
The pair combined for 274 metres, 14 tackle busts, five line breaks, and set each other up for a try each in what was the club's biggest win since the competition's inception in 2018.
However after watching fellow convert Charlotte Caslick suffer a back fracture playing for the Sydney Roosters last week, the duo are all but certain to rule themselves out of the women's Origin series.
And Donald, the caretaker of the Warriors team, can't blame them for keeping an eye on next year's Olympics.
"I understand their fear of playing State of Origin. There's a couple of injuries amongst them and seen Charlotte get injured last week, which is not great," Donald said.
"Olympics only rolls around every four years.
"We've got great understanding. It would be great to see them play Origin, yes, but I totally understand why they're not willing to take that risk.
"It's probably something that might end up on their bucket list down the track. I'd love to be a part of it and even see those girls come through and potentially play for the Jillaroos one day."
Donald hoped to continue their collaboration with rival codes as the league considers expansion.
"We've been really fortunate to have those rugby guys come across and play in our competition this year because they've showed us what the standard of professionalism in a contact sport can look like," he said.
Warriors bench forward Shaniah Power grabbed a second half double and winger Madison Bartlett also crossed in a contest where they led 8-4 at halftime.
Any hope of the Dragons coming back was doused when the Warriors, who performed an emotional haka pre-game, ran in three tries in the space of eight minutes in the second half.
Already without star pair Kezie Apps (ACL) and Isabelle Kelly (ankle), St George Illawarra were scraping the barrel when Shakiah Tungai (shoulder), Maddie Studdon (ankle), and Tiana Penitani (knee) withdrew on game day.
With just a 22-player squad to select from, Dragons coach Daniel Lacey was left with a three-person bench.
"We asked the NRL what we could do from here. It's really hard at this time, because you've got screenings, there's a lot these girls do to be able to get on the park," Lacey said.
"You just can't ask a girl to play and she can turn up and play."
Australian Associated Press