You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Ali in awe as young guns refresh Jillaroos ranks

During the Jillaroos' Test against the Kiwis in Wollongong last October, Ali Brigginshaw had moments where she sat back and marvelled at the rising talent around her.

Australia went on to win convincingly 28-8 to prove the transition from the 2017 World Cup-winning side to what the Jillaroos want to do in 2021 to defend their title, had well and truly arrived.

This weekend on the Gold Coast a 30-player squad is being put through their paces on and off the field as part of the build-up to the UK tournament in just under two years.

But first another Test against New Zealand in October this year and a Prime Minister's XIII game await.

Brigginshaw is once again watching in awe. But this time it is an injury-enforced spectator role.

"I had surgery a week ago to put a screw in and then another surgery in six weeks time to put a band in," the Jillaroos co-captain told of the syndesmosis injury to her left ankle.

Simply the Best - The Untold Story

She plans to start running in April as she rolls out her rehab.

She's not the only Jillaroo convalescing this weekend at the Royal Pines Resort in Nerang.

Millie Boyle (neck) is having surgery in a week, Holli Wheeler (knee) is having her anterior cruciate ligament repaired on Monday, and Tarryn Aiken (syndesmosis) had surgery last Monday.

"We're all here to learn all the different ways of performance even if we're injured," Brigginshaw said.

"It's not only on the field where we need to get better. It's about the preparation of our bodies off the field, our minds is a massive one.

"A big key for this camp is to make sure we’re all thinking the same thing. We get told a million different things by all the coaches we have. So we have experts come in and make sure we're all focused and heading in the one direction – all of us.

"We're not here for a holiday – we are switched on."

It's a pretty stunning direction if the Jillaroos can keep up the momentum they showed in Wollongong.

Every member of that 17-strong side is in camp this weekend but all up only eight survivors from the 2017 World Cup team.

"We knew a lot of players from 2017 were about to leave the game so it's brought a new era in," said Brigginshaw, who turned 30 last December.

"I'm one of the oldest in the team now and I'm watching these young kids come through. They are just so athletic and amazingly talented that everyone brings something different.

"In that Test match [in Wollongong] I could just sit back and watch these young kids perform. They'd put a kick in, change direction in their run, but it comes off because of the confidence in them.

"They might be shy people off the field but on the field they show much confidence and it's really great to see."

Still making history, still a game for everyone, still simply the best

From that 17 however, there were only four Queenslanders – Brigginshaw, the Maroons skipper, plus Annette Brander, Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Tallisha Harden.

Brigginshaw hopes with the QRL's new BHP Premiership women's competition in 2020, the Maroons can bring through more talent like NSWRL has done with its Tarsha Gale Cup and Harvey Norman's women's premiership.

"NSW have just been doing things better by working really hard with their juniors and getting them into the system really early. But the QRL have now started to do that but that's where we've been a step behind," Brigginshaw said.

"The Jillaroos used to be dominated by Queenslanders so again that's part of that transition we were talking about earlier."

Queensland will host NSW when the interstate match moves from North Sydney Oval to the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Kawana Waters on June 19.

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

Platinum Partners

View All Partners