Ali in shape for All Star tussle
THE Indigenous All Stars matches at the Gold Coast this weekend will do plenty for indigenous issues in Australia.
It will also do much for women’s rugby league, according to Ipswich’s Australian representative Ali Brigginshaw.
The Ripley 23-year-old prepares for this weekend’s women’s All Stars game, a curtain-raiser to the men’s encounter at Gold Coast’s Skilled Park on Saturday.
“It’s going to be a good experience,” the North Ipswich resident said.
“I’m looking forward to it.
“Everyone’s a bit excited because it’s the first time.”
It will be the first game of the new season for what is shaping as a virtual Australian Jillaroo side.
Brigginshaw (pictured) expects to play centre in the match, in which she’ll go head-to-head with a number of her Souths Logan team-mates on the Indigenous team.
“I’m a bit disappointed because I wanted to play my position but I’m happy just to be selected,” Brigginshaw said.
Brigginshaw was picked at centre because that’s where she played in last year’s State of Origin series, with Queensland and Australia five-eighth Erin Elliot also in the team.
The All Stars women only had one training session before going into camp yesterday and were understandably rusty.
But Brigginshaw is optimistic that three days of intensive training will have them all primed.
She suspects they will need to be.
“I’m not looking forward to playing them,” Brigginshaw said of her Aboriginal Souths Logan team-mates.
“They’re tough and they’ve been training really hard.
“They’ve got a point to prove.
“Some of them have come out of retirement and the game is mostly for promoting indigenous issues.
“It is only 20-minute halves so I reckon it is going to be full-on contact.”
While the game is set to provide a showpiece for indigenous sport, it does not mean Brigginshaw and her team-mates will be charitable about the result.
“I’d like to win,” she said.
“It will be bragging rights for the rest of the year.”
Brigginshaw believes the game will have a positive effect highlighting indigenous issues as well as lifting the standard of women’s rugby league.
It has ensured all the players involved are fitter than usual for the start of the season.
“Last season we weren’t all that organised,” Brigginshaw said.
This year she is determined to be fit and ready to go from the start, with the carrot of Jillaroo tours to Samoa and France later in the season providing plenty of motivation.