From elite touch footy to world-class league, Ali is awesome
HAVING been isolating in Ipswich since her latest triumph, Ali Brigginshaw heads into Queensland camp today with renewed confidence.
Buoyed by captaining the Broncos to their third successive national championship grand final victory, the proud Ipswich sportswoman senses it's time Queensland ended NSW's hold on the interstate title.
The Queensland players go into camp at Twin Waters today for an extended preparation leading up to the Origin clash at Sunshine Coast on November 13.
"We are in isolation so we are not really allowed to do anything,'' Brigginshaw said, having focused on recovery since last weekend's NRL Women's grand final success.
Ever the professional turning 31 in December, Brigginshaw continues to handle the high expectations on her with trademark calmness.
"Not really,'' she answered, when asked about the extra pressure she faces as a captain and international player.
"I just try and lead really well.
"I was taught that . . . make sure I'm doing the best and leading by example.
"Karyn Murphy (former Australian Jillaroos captain) was the one that led the way for me and I'm hoping to lead the way for others.''
Sporting allrounder Brigginshaw is grateful for being able to play in the NRL Women's competition.
"I didn't think I'd ever even get the opportunity to play in that NRLW because there wasn't any back in the day,'' Brigginshaw said. "So that's a massive thing.
"I'm just kind of maturing. I'm one of the older girls so just trying to set a good example for the other girls coming through.''
The Ipswich born and bred footballer is one of the most popular sportswomen in Queensland for good reason.
She's dedicated, well spoken, team-minded and sets the highest standards. Young players admire her.
And the 2020 Dally M Medal winner hasn't changed as a down-to-earth achiever.
In a 2007 Queensland Times back page story, Brigginshaw spoke about her international touch football successes which laid the foundation for her rugby league conquests.
In the article, the former Bremer High Year 12 student shared her sporting ambitions.
Even at that stage 13 years ago, she was the winning skipper of Queensland teams and was eyeing more international opportunities.
Having grown up in Ripley, she was making Australian under-20 touch squads and sharing her enthusiasm for R&B music.
She was nicknamed "Long Ball'' because of her lethal passing skills.
Her focus was on making touch football World Cup competitions.
Brigginshaw is now still an "awesome'' Ipswich achiever, widely recognised as one of the world's best rugby league players.
Preparing for her latest Queensland camp, she appreciated the support of family, friends and fans - especially being unable to see them much during weeks of isolation under team COVID restrictions.
"It's been good to be home but it's hard when you can't do anything,'' she said.
"We're nearly at the end.''
That's why last weekend's 20-10 Women's NRL grand final victory over the Roosters in the rain was most satisfying.
"It was probably just the sacrifices because everyone had to make such big sacrifices,'' Brigginshaw said.
"We are in home isolation so a lot of the girls can't go to work, couldn't be near family. They had to live out of home.
"That was probably the biggest thing - seeing the girls be rewarded for their effort and sacrifices throughout the competition.''
With the Broncos third successive grand final success to enhance confidence, Brigginshaw is delighted the Friday night Queensland women's Origin game is a stand-alone encounter.
The growth of women's rugby league is inspiring the next generation.
"Each year, it's good for the girls to be able to come out to support Queensland and have that goal of maybe representing Queensland one day,'' she said.
"When it's in Sydney, you don't get many supporters down there.''
With international rugby league on hold until next year, the November 13 duel with NSW will have added appeal.
It will be the biggest women's showdown of the season before thoughts turn to a possible World Cup in England next year.
Halfback/five-eight turned lock Brigginshaw has already savoured Aussie success at the 2017 World Cup in Australia. She was named player of the final in Australia's 23-16 victory over New Zealand.
Brigginshaw has represented Australia 15 times from 2009 to last year.
She has lined up on 10 occasions for Queensland in that period.
Brigginshaw has also recovered from injury setbacks, including breaking her right fibula in three places in 2015. She turned to boxing and martial arts to aid her recovery.
Being so multi-talented is why Brigginshaw has risen from teenage touch football success to the highest rugby league stage.
But being ever appreciative of her support, Brigginshaw shared why she confidently surges ahead.
"It's probably come from coaches that I've had along the way,'' she said.
"Just teaching me little things every time I've played rugby league.
"I'm very lucky to have had great coaches and I think they have definitely helped me.''