As a child, Ali Brigginshaw was often the only girl on the footy field. Now, at age 30, she’s the captain of the NRLW’s Brisbane Broncos and wants to be as visible as possible for young girls all over Australia.
Brigginshaw is one of Australia’s most prominent female rugby league players and has represented Australia on the international stage as a Jillaroos star for over a decade.
In 2017, the halfback was named woman of the match at the World Cup Final and in 2018, she became captain of the side.
Now, she’s focused on inspiring young girls to play the sport.
“For us older girls it’s about being great role models and showing young girls they can play the sport they love and be the best athletes possible,” she told Women’s Agenda.
Below, Ali shares what it feels like to captain Australia on home soil and where she sees women’s rugby league headed over the next few years.
Personally, you’ve had an impressive few years in rugby league – captaining the premiership winning Brisbane Broncos, playing for Queensland in State of Origin and representing Australia at the World Cup. What’s been the most rewarding part for you?
Captaining Australia in a Test Match on home soil was a very special moment for me and the team. Getting such a great win in front of a home crowd was unbelievable. We had such a special group for the Jillaroos and to lead them was a great moment for me in 2019.
Could you tell us about your favourite moment for women in sport over the last year?
Ash Barty becoming World Number 1 was amazing. She is a local girl from Ipswich and I think she is a very humble athlete and it’s amazing to see someone so young doing great things.
What was your relationship with sport and rugby league like as a child? Did you always have a goal to play at the highest level?
I always wanted to play rugby league. My dad used to play for Queensland so I wanted to follow in his footsteps. Being the only girl on the field had its challenges, but I loved every moment of playing alongside the boys.
What do you think needs to be done to encourage more young girls into the game?
I think the sport itself is doing great at making sure there is opportunities for young girls all over Australia. For us older girls it’s about being great role models and showing young girls they can play the sport they love and be the best athletes possible.
Where do you see women’s rugby league headed over the next few years?
I can definitely see rugby league becoming professional. Everything takes time but I feel like we are definitely heading in the right direction!
And congratulations on your recent engagement! We’re so happy for you and Kate. Can you tell us a little about your proposal experience?
I had planned on proposing to Kate this year and wanted to make it a very special moment so I thought in front of my best friends and family would be the perfect moment. I proposed in front of family at my 30th birthday, I was very nervous but also excited to see the look on Kate’s face in the moment. It was very special and we will both remember the day forever. We are both extremely happy and looking forward to the wedding planning.
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