Broncos fans finally have something to cheer about
It's been a long time coming but Brisbane Broncos NRLW captain Ali Brigginshaw has finally been recognised as the best female player in Australia.
After playing more than a decade of representative footy, and captaining the Broncos to back-to-back NRLW premierships, Brigginshaw received her first ever Dally M medal for Female Player of the Year.
The 30-year-old has been a driving force behind Brisbane's and Australia's success in recent years and in further proof of her talent, Brigginshaw's win comes in a season where she has been moved out of her regular halfback role and into lock.
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She now joins the likes of Jessica Sergis (2019) and Brittany Breayley (2018) to take out the coveted award.
Brigginshaw missed out on being short-listed for last year's Dally M Female Player of the Year, despite leading the Broncos to a grand final win, and was overlooked for the 2019 Golden Boot Award which was awarded to Sergis.
The Broncos NRLW captain hasn't let that affect her, hitting back in 2020 by leading the Broncos to an unbeaten season and a third straight grand final appearance this weekend.
This season, she has two try assists, nine tackle breaks, a try and a 165 metre average kicking distance across the NRLW's three games so far this season.
Such has been the Broncos dominance in 2020, talented fullback Tamika Upton was voted second to Brigginshaw in the Dally M Female Player of the Year.
Leading into this year's NRLW season, Brigginshaw admitted it was going to be a year like no other.
"This season is going to be very different," Brigginshaw said.
"We've got a new squad and we've got some values about accepting, acting and adapting to what we've been given.
"That's something we're really trying to focus on and not really look at the negatives - let's just deal with what we've got.
"In the women's game, there are lots of hurdles that we have to overcome when we play and this is just another one."
The Ipswich product has represented Queensland and Australia since 2009 and was part of the Jillaroos 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cup winning sides.
She has been instrumental in helping grow the women's game, which has seen participation rates skyrocket in recent years.
And the talent coming through the NRLW ranks this year was also highlighted at Monday night's Dally M Awards, with Sydney Roosters forward Kennedy Cherrington named NRLW Rookie of the Year.
Cherrington produced an exceptional Round 1 debut against the Dragons, with 17 carries for 148 metres in her 37 minute stint.
Dally M Female Player of the Year
Ali Brigginshaw, Brisbane Broncos 16 points
Tamika Upton, Brisbane Broncos 14 points
Hannah Southwell, Sydney Roosters 13 points
Evania Pelite, New Zealand Warriors 11 points
Zahara Temara, Sydney Roosters 9 points
Originally published as Brisbane fans finally have something to cheer about