Ali shuffle key to state glory
RIPLEY-based Ali Brigginshaw had a weekend to cherish.
She guided South East Queensland to an undefeated state women's rugby league title in Ipswich from five-eighth and was named player-of-the-tournament.
Brigginshaw scored two tries in Sunday's final when SEQ beat Northern Queensland 26-4.
About the only thing that could improve her mood would be getting named as Queensland five-eighth when the state team is announced today.
"It was really good," Brigginshaw said of the state titles. "I'm very happy and injury free."
She should be happy as Brigginshaw finally got the chance to wear the five-eighth's jersey in a representative tournament.
Brigginshaw made it look easy but she says it wasn't.
"It was hard . . . difficult because of the weather," she said.
In sodden conditions more suited to grinding forward play, Brigginshaw lit up the tournament with her silken skills.
"You've got to play the conditions," she said. "We had to go back to basics and focus on ball control.
"Maybe it suited me.
"My legs are tired but you've got to push through the pain."
Brigginshaw's personal achievements are impressive.
But when asked the most satisfying aspect of the weekend, she had no hesitation nominating the support the players received from the game's governing body.
It was not long ago the women's game received little assistance.
But women's rugby league is gradually building on its profile, thanks in part to the help it now receives from the Queensland Rugby League.
"The most pleasing thing was how well we were looked after," Brigginshaw said.
"The South East staff really put in for us, especially Michael Pease (Queensland Rugby League South East Division manager)."
It was a sentiment echoed by teammate Natalie Dwyer.
"The coach (Brad Donald) and the support staff were great," the Springfield hooker said.
It would seem only natural that Brigginshaw will walk into the Queensland team as five-eighth.
But she isn't so certain, despite her dominant performances.
In recent seasons Brigginshaw has played centre for state and country because of Springfield's Erin Elliot. Elliot has done an outstanding job for years as the game's number one pivot, while Brigginshaw has always excelled alongside her.
But the former Norths junior, while a friend and admirer of Elliot, longs for the chance to make the number six Queensland and Australian jersey her own.
If it doesn't happen this year, Brigginshaw knows it is not because of any doubt over her ability to handle it. "I did as much as I can to prove I can do it," she said.
Queensland Women's Rugby League title final: South East 26 (A Brigginshaw 2, K Murphy, J Barrett, J Hoepper tries; N Dwyer 3 goals) def Northern 4 (V Cole try).
Saturday: South East 18 (A Brider 2, F Faamita, R Kunst tries; N Dwyer goal) def Barbarians 0; South East 20 (K Brown 2, A Brigginshaw, R Kunst tries; A Brigginshaw, R Kunst goals) def Northern 0.
Friday: South East 18 (R Kunst 2, T Osbourne tries; N Dwyer 2, A Brigginshaw goals) def Central 6 (C Lockwood try; A Saltner goal).
Final points: South East 14.5, Northern Marlins 9, Central 5, Barbarians 1.5.