FINE TRADITION: East Maitland and the winning Ipswich Diggers junior rugby league players at North Ipswich Reserve.
FINE TRADITION: East Maitland and the winning Ipswich Diggers junior rugby league players at North Ipswich Reserve.

Sarah becomes first female to join Jillaroo

IPSWICH may have dominated the scoreboard, but the 43rd annual Test match against East Maitland was a special moment for one of the visiting junior rugby league players.

For almost half a century Ipswich and East Maitland have worked hard to promote their junior talent through the annual contest.

Last Tuesday, Ipswich’s women’s rugby league star Ali Brigginshaw welcomed Maitland’s first female tourist to North Ipswich Reserve.

Ten-year-old Sarah Gent was presented her game jersey and a signed Queensland shirt by Ipswich’s Jillaroos national player.

At age 11, Brigginshaw began her rugby league journey as Ipswich’s first female player in the annual Test in 2000.

Now the Queensland and Australian representative is inspiring a new generation of female stars like Sarah.

After watching the Jillaroos take on New Zealand this year at the ANZAC Test, Sarah told her father she “wants to do what they do. I want to play for Australia one day.’’

A fierce frontrower who loves tackling, Sarah could overtake her hero Brigginshaw as the only female player to compete in three Tests.

While it was a special moment for both teams, it was the Diggers juniors who came away with wins in both the under 11 and under 12 contests against the East Maitlands Griffins.

State of play

U12: Ipswich Diggers 22 def East Maitland Griffins 6 at North Ipswich Reserve.

U11: Ipswich Diggers 34 def East Maitland Griffins 6 at North Ipswich Reserve.



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