Chelsea Baker named in Jillaroos' World Cup squad
RUGBY LEAGUE: Gladstone's Chelsea Baker has survived the cut to be named in the Australian Jillaroos' 2017 World Cup squad.
The Wallabys' captain was named in Australian women's coach Brad Donald's 24-player squad for the November 16 to December 2 tournament after it was trimmed from a train-on squad of 40 players.
Baker was informed of the news on Friday afternoon in a phone call from Donald.
"I was very surprised, especially with a big squad of 40 girls... it's very exciting," she said.
The 31-year-old will compete in her first World Cup, with the Aussies out to defend their 2013 title.
Fullback at club level and winger while on represent- ative duty, Baker expected to be shifted back to the flank after wearing the number 1 jersey during the Jillaroos' 42-4 win against Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby last month.
"There's been no conversation on what position I'll play but I expect to be on the wing," she said.
"We have two other options in Sam Bremner and Karina Brown who are our go-to fullbacks.
"I wouldn't care if you chucked me in the front row."
The Jillaroos go into a week-long camp at the Gold Coast on November 6 before jetting to Sydney and then onto Wollongong, their base for the World Cup.
Preparations for the tournament have already begun for Baker, who has an intense month of individual training before bunkering down in camp with the rest of the squad.
"We were sent our new programs today and start our official program tomorrow," she said.
"It's very full-on and training will be hard and tough, but every girl will be excited to get it done.
"The onus is on us to get the fitness done."
The Jillaroos kick off their World Cup campaign against the Cook Islands on November 16 at Cronulla's Southern Cross Group Stadium.
The team has a short turnaround before a final Pool A clash against the old enemy England on November 19.
Should the Aussies make the December 2 decider, they'll fulfil a dream and play in a World Cup Final double-header at Suncorp Stadium prior to the men's match.
"That's the same dream and goal we've all got, so hopefully we can get there," Baker said.
Meanwhile, former Calliope player Kody House was overlooked for the final squad, and Baker offered her condolences.
"I do feel for her and the rest of the girls who missed out, but they are all still young and will be playing at the next World Cup," she said.