Green machine keeps Aussies on track
ALMOST a year to the day after she blew out her knee, a sizzling solo try from speedster Ellia Green helped the Australian women's sevens team sidestep an upset loss to England and finish the opening day of Commonwealth Games competition unbeaten.
With one pool game left to play, the Aussie team booked themselves a semi-final spot with two wins over Wales and England at Robina Stadium.
The first 34-5 victory over Wales was almost as comfortable as expected for the Olympic champions - conceding a first competition try in 133 days the only blight - but Australia were made to work hard for their second win over the aggressive English side.
Australia scored first but the home team wobbled in their skills and defence and England pounced, scoring two tries and taking a 12-5 lead just before halftime.
A lead at the break could have been enough to embolden England to go on with the job, but Green had other ideas.
Getting the ball on the right wing on the halfway line - and after the hooter had sounded - the speedy Victorian burned down the sideline, stepped inside and beat four tacklers to race under the sticks.
It tied the scores up at 12-all, and with their composure regained in the second half, Australia went on to score a five-try, 29-12 win.
The stepping run of Green, who scored twice with two touches against Wales as well, was all the more special given she only returned from a busted ACL in January.
"It's been a very, very long road," Green said post-match.
"Actually, tomorrow marks exactly one year I did my ACL and I guess today is just the icing on the cake for what our management team has done to get me here."
Asked on Channel Seven to explain her try, Green said: "I don't really know, I just bloody had the ball in two hands and tried to dodge every white jersey I could see."
The fact their tryline was breached for the first time since December 1, 2017, won't bother Australian coach Tim Walsh but he'll want to see a more clinical performance from his team against the always tricky Fiji on Saturday.
Walsh said it was a luxury to have a player like Green in the squad.
"Speed is priceless but with Ellia, if she is not going around you, she'll come through you. She's quite a talent," Walsh said.
Walsh admitted he was nervous after England took the lead but believed his team would come home over the top of their rivals.
"I was worried but I need if we just tidied up a little bit the floodgates would open and we would come away with the win. And we did in the end," he said.
Australia's pace and skill was enough to outclass Wales and eventually crack England's defence but he'll know the powerful New Zealanders won't be as forgiving on their errors down the track, should they meet.
The Kiwis dispatched Kenya 45-0 and South Africa 41-0 to lay down a marker as the team to beat.