Jillaroos win big as Cook Islands fume

Cook Islands coach Rusty Matua has fired a shot at Rugby League World Cup organisers for handing hosts England a favourable route to the knockout stages after his side were pumped 74-0 in a 14-try demolition at the hands of Australia.

Fullback and co-captain Sam Bremner scored four tries in the Jillaroos' tournament opener, in what was her first game for the national team since the birth of her two children.

Centre Evania Pelite scored a hat-trick, five-eighth Tarryn Aiken and winger Julia Robinson grabbed tryscoring braces and Caitlan Johnston, Taliah Fuimaono and Shenae Ciesiolka crossed once in front of 3091 fans in York.

The game was a mismatch from start to finish, with Australia underlining why they are hot-favourites to retain their crown.

The Jillaroos are expected to make light work of France, who lost 46-0 to New Zealand in Group B's other game, when they meet on Sunday (Monday AEDT).

The fact Australia and New Zealand - the world No.1 and No.2 ranked nations - are in the Cook Islands' group, while England have a softer pool, means Matua's side are at long-odds to be one of the two teams to advance to the knockout stages.

"I think Australia and New Zealand should've been split, that's a no-brainer," Matua said.

"They've played every grand final, so I can't imagine how they ended up in the same pool.

"I don't see any system that allows the two top seeds to be in the same pool.

"It's pretty tough being in the pool of death ... England's in the spa pool along with Brazil and Canada (and Papua New Guinea), that's a little bit unfair."

The game also gave a glimpse into what might be to come at this tournament, with Australia's NRLW players displaying a gulf in class and fitness that many nations may not be able to keep up with.

The match was 80 minutes in length - rather than the 70 minutes used in NRLW games - and it was clear to see the Cook Islands, who hadn't trained together before arriving in England, as each half neared an end.

The fact St George Illawarra fullback Emma Tonegato and Sydney Roosters centre Jess Sergis didn't feature also indicates the strength in depth Australia possesses.

Bremner stole the show and was named player of the match, grabbing a brace either side of halftime and topping the running count with 185 metres.

"All I do is just follow the girls around, they do the hard work and I try and finish it off," Bremner, who last played for Australia in 2016, said.

"In terms of the competition (for a jersey) it's a credit to how good women's rugby league is in Australia."