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State rivalry the cracking start for Country's Whipp

Queensland Under 17 Country's memorable after-the-siren victory in the recent City versus Country clash has ignited a massive fire in the belly of Alenna Whipp.

The young-and-upcoming dummy half, who hails from Emerald, watched the frantic finish unfold from no better place... in the middle of the team huddle, when sharpshooting halfback Emily Bella - the niece of legendary Queensland prop Martin Bella - slotted the winning conversion to break the deadlock and clinch the win.

Queensland Under 17 City v Country Girls highlights

"The girls kept the intensity up knowing our numbers were dropping and we had limited bench... so I’d get taken off for a sub and then someone would get hurt two minutes later, so I was back on," Whipp said.

"It was really intense and there was a lot of good defence from the other team and from us. All the girls did their job and when we got the win, there were no words.

"Everyone was so proud. We all put in for each other and it paid off in the end."

Describing the week-long occasion as the biggest game in her emerging rugby league career thus far, the 17-year-old was happy to admit her first experience in a semi-professional environment was a little nerve-wracking, especially returning from injury.

Whipp in action for Queensland Country earlier this year. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL
Whipp in action for Queensland Country earlier this year. Photo: Erick Lucero/QRL

"I actually broke my ankle and tore my delta ligaments playing for Capricornia schoolgirls, so it was good to be back," Whipp said.

"[The camp] was such a professional setup. Not only did we have our coaching staff, but we had strength and conditioning trainers, a physio and a full on schedule each day we had to follow.

"It was also really intimidating because the girls from the City team already knew how each other played and played together at a club level, whereas we were spread from Toowoomba up to Thursday Island.

"So having to gel with each other so quickly in camp before playing together was pretty hard, but we managed to get the job done with the win."

The positive experience has inspired her to dream big and achieve bigger and better goals in 2022.

Speaking at the recent BHP development day held in Emerald, the current Central Queensland Capras Harvey Norman Under 19 rake was glad to return home and see the next generation learn from the best.

"It was actually pretty good to come out and see all the talent coming through the younger ranks," Whipp said.

"[When I came through], there weren’t many girls who were willing to play league because of intimidation from the boys, but it’s good to see some young, brave girls out there that are willing to step up and play with the boys these days.

"Clinics like these with Tahnee [Norris] and the Maroons girls are great.

"Growing up here allowed me to better myself and now after getting picked up by a boarding school in Rocky, I’ve had so many opportunities and pathways open up to me since I moved."

Maroons inspire next generation at BHP development clinic

On the radar next season for the Emerald Brothers junior is a hopeful women's debut with the Capras after a breakout year in the new Under 19 statewide female competition.

"The Harvey Norman Under 19s was so good and fun to play. The girls were so lovely and it was such a great environment," Whipp said.

"I'm just trying to push myself to get into the right habits and train hard and see how far I can get.

"One of my goals is to play QRLW and hopefully make the Queensland Under 19 team.

"I guess I'm also hoping I can get picked up by [an NRLW club] and see where it takes me."