Aussie women break Kiwi hold
TOUCH convert Ali Briggenshaw has returned home to Ipswich after helping a new-look Australian team end New Zealand’s decade-long dominance of women’s rugby league.
One of a whopping 10 debutants in Karen Stuart’s revamped outfit, Briggenshaw lined up at right centre in Australia’s drought-breaking 18-16 win over the reigning world champions in Auckland.
A 10-6 halftime deficit wasn’t enough to stop the rampaging Jillaroos upsetting a Kiwis side fresh from their 2008 World Cup success and boasting an unbeaten record since 1999.
Australian coach Stuart, from Augustine Heights, said the win at Ellerslie Rugby League Club was thanks to some rock solid defence from her troops.
“I am just so proud of the girls,” Stuart said.
“Considering the short preparation and the fact that we had so many rookies in the team it was an amazing effort.”
Unfortunately the Aussies couldn’t finish the tour undefeated, suffering an 18-14 loss to New Zealand Maori after a successful Pacific Cup campaign.
In just her second year of rugby league, Briggenshaw said the tour had been an amazing eye-opener.
“It was a very good experience and a bit more physical than what I’m used to,” she said.
Completing the strong Ipswich flavour in the squad were Kerri Swan and Springfield Lakes trio Suzanne Johnson, Tracey Bailey and Erin Elliott.