Seeing the Women’s Rugby League World Cup live on TV drew Bri Clark to the game; but her inspiration to be the best she can be comes from a place much closer to home.
Clark, who enjoyed an enormous year in the game last season which included earning herself a Prime Minister’s XIII jersey, has always been a sporting talent and it’s something that runs in the family.
Her older sister Zoe played competitive Australian Rules with Coorparoo, but according to Clark, despite her talents, her timing was unfortunately off, meaning she wasn’t able to strive for the avenues that are becoming more available for female athletes now.
That has driven Clark, whose form saw her selected the Queensland Female Performance Program squad, to grab every opportunity on offer.
“I was watching the (Rugby League) World Cup on the tele in 2017 and I saw, I think it might have been Ruan Sims, do a massive hit and I thought, ‘I have to get amongst this game!’, so after that, I got in touch with a couple of friends who I knew already played and I signed up after that,” Clark said.
“Having it on TV really helps others see that you can play it.
“(In my sporting career), my sister is probably my biggest influence, she was just an all star with all sport, but ... the timing wasn’t great (for her); she missed all the women’s opportunities, so I am going to take all of them in my stride.”
Clark first started playing league with the Mackay Magpies and has also drawn inspiration from fellow Mackay products and stars of the game Brittany Breayley and Renae Kunst, who stopped by the training camp last weekend to see how the players were progressing.
“Football-wise, my biggest inspiration is probably Renae Kunst, she would probably be my biggest – her and Britto (Brittany Breayley), I like the Mackay girls,” Clark said.
“And they are Magpies – and they showed how far you can go.
“When I had my first rep game, Kunsty always said, ‘you can do this, you got this - just keep going for it’.”
Having spent time playing soccer in Iowa with a community college ("I was in the cornfields!"), Clark is happy to set up a home for herself wherever an opportunity to progress her sporting career arises.
“Last year was a big year, the move down to Brisbane was a really good move for me, a change in the environment and there were more opportunities,” she said.
“We (West Brisbane Panthers) won the premiership, that was huge, and I managed to get a spot in the PM XIII side against Fiji, so that was insane to pull on the green and gold, I wasn’t expecting that yet.
“I am hoping that this year will be another big year as well.”
This season, her goal is to play well with the Panthers in the QRL Women’s Premiership, which she thinks is “going to be a whole other level of intensity”.
Clark is also aiming to add to her list of representative games.
“My goal this year is to get a little bit further in my rep and broaden what I can give to a team,” she said.
“I want to reach out a little bit more in my club games so I can bring it to my rep games; just understanding the game a bit better.”