Jada Ferguson was simply looking for a fresh start when she signed with the Norths Devils for the 2023 BMD Premiership season.
But as the 20-year-old playmaker prepares for the Devils’ inaugural match this Saturday against Burleigh Bears, she will run onto the field with much more than she could have ever imagined from her switch.
The former Tweed Seagulls half has been named the first ever Norths Devils women’s captain and it’s a title she holds with pride.
“I was pretty shocked when (coach) Zac (Wallwork) spoke to me about it,” Ferguson said.
“I was on the field doing extras before training. He pulled me aside for a chat and I thought I’d done something wrong… I was a bit blindsided.
“He just thinks being a younger player and having experience in NRLW - being a half as well - he thought I’d be able to lead the team.
“It’s really special, especially being the first year of the Norths women. It’s really special to me. I’m really excited for it and it’s good to get that experience and a bit of confidence.
“I’m really into the teamwork side of things, letting everyone have a say, listening to others, and then in key moments, I’d like to say I’ll step up.
“Being captain, it will help me be a bit confident in my game… pushing me to be a better player.”
Ferguson is just one of a number of big-name signings the Devils have made for their first season in the BMD Premiership.
Alongside the young Brisbane Broncos half, they have also picked up Ferguson’s cousin Shenae Ciesiolka plus Annette Brander, Natassja Purontakanen, Hayley Maddick, Therese Aiton, and Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw.
They are expected to be a hugely competitive team in their first season and Ferguson said it was the new start she needed.
“I was just living back home in Toowoomba and Norths approached me,” Ferguson said of signing with the club.
“Being a new club with a fresh start, it sounded like a good idea for me. Zac sounded really good over the phone and I knew some girls going there so it sounded like a good choice.
“It’s a new club, new culture, new girls. I just want to try to play a different style of footy and open up my vision a bit more. It’s exciting being in a new club.
“We’re all on the same level and no one has been there before and knows the ropes already. We’re all on this journey together.
“It’s an exciting team. I think we’re going to be a competitive team and I can’t wait for Round 1 to see how we go together in that comp. We have good girls so we just need to put it together on that field.”
Ciesiolka: 'This is something I want to be a part of'
As well as being named Norths skipper, Ferguson’s season is also off to a promising start after she was named in the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons Emerging Origin squad after last year representing the Queensland Under 19 Girls.
She went into a mid-February camp alongside the likes of Brigginshaw, Ciesiolka, Julia Robinson, Shannon Mato, and more, and it’s helped her set her goals for 2023.
Her first focus is on the BMD Premiership and then she can’t wait to see what comes after.
“Playing in this comp is a good opportunity for rugby league in Queensland,” Ferguson said of the BMD Premiership.
“To be playing in it, it’s a good achievement in itself. But it helps you push for an NRLW spot as well.
“For me this year to start with, I want to have a good club season, really challenge myself and push myself to play good footy each week. I want to also get good minutes in NRLW and push for an Origin spot.
“Being in that emerging camp, with the girls and that amount of quality players, it was really good. But we’ll see what happens after BMD.”
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Norths Devils 2023 squad list
Kaieisha Afoa, Therese Aiton, Bertshiba Awoi, Annette Brander, Ali Brigginshaw, Shenae Ciesiolka, Caity Costello, Codi Dalley, Lauren Dam, Breanna Eales, Jada Ferguson, Grace Griffin, Belinda Gwasamun, Aliya Hura, Fiona Jahnke, Hannah Larsson, Lauretta Leao-Seve, Ataliah Love, Hayley Maddick, Taylor Mapasua, Tyla Mitchell, Martha Molowia, Natassja Purontakanen, Lizzy Ross, Nakita Sao, Gemma Schnaubelt, Katherine Stevens, Caitlyn Taleni, Georginia Tuiitalili, Hollie Twidale