Brothers fullback leads perfect SEQ
BROTHERS Ipswich fullback Jessica Carey was "shocked” when she was named captain of the SEQ side which went through undefeated at the QRL A-Grade State Championships last weekend.
In her second year as part of the representative side, Carey was given the honour of leading a new-look SEQ team out against Central and Northern opponents at Southport.
"It was very unexpected. We got told in our meeting before game day,” Carey said.
"We went into camp on the Thursday and before we finished up the coach was like, 'by the way we'll get led out by Jess everyone' and I was so shocked.
"We had such a new team and coaching staff. It was a privilege to lead the girls out and to come away undefeated was a bonus.”
Carey's Brothers teammate Sanna Mauga was also part of the SEQ side, which did not concede a single point over the weekend of the championships.
The fullback said the group went in with no expectations, fielding a vastly new side to the one Carey played in last year.
"This year we had a lot of new girls come into the squad. We had a range of experience; some girls from Division 3, and then some Division 1 girls as well,” Carey said.
"We went into the carnival with no expectation. Only coming in with minimal preparation, and being together as a fresh team we just had to back ourselves based on the experience from the older girls.”
In her fourth year of rugby league, the former Souths player said it was the Brothers culture which made her make the switch to stay in Division 1.
"When all the girls split from Souths I wanted to stay part of Division 1. A lot of girls went to separate clubs,” Carey said.
"Brothers' culture and what they offered in terms of coaching really stood out to me.”
Carey is Brothers' starting fullback, but a few weeks ago was forced to make the switch to hooker when incumbent number nine, captain Brittany Breayley, was away at a representative carnival.
"It was really different. In terms of involvement, you're touching the ball pretty much every play,” Carey said of the win over Easts at North Ipswich Reserve.
"It was a bit daunting to be honest. Having Britto as the owner of that number nine jersey, there's no way you'll live up to those expectations.
"I wasn't trying to be her, more so pick up on the little things she does that would help my game. It was daunting but exciting.”
With the representative season fast approaching, Carey may need to deputise at dummy half more often with Breayley likely to be away on State of Origin duty.
She said that while fullback was her favoured position, she was happy to fill in wherever coaches Nat Dwyer and Becky Jones required.
"I've always played fullback, I'd never really tried any other position,” Carey said.
"Dummy half is a pretty good spot, but I'm happy to go wherever the team needs me. If it's the wing, so be it; if I have to play second row, so be it.”
With a number of her Brothers teammates preparing to sign NRL contracts, Carey said joining them at the highest level had definitely crossed her mind.
"I think it's every girl's dream at the moment to push and try to make an NRL team,” she said. "Whether that be the Broncos, Dragons, New Zealand or whatever.
"I'm just trying to focus on doing the job for club footy and let the rest play out as we go. I'm not putting too much pressure on myself.”
Brothers travel to Gatton to take on Toowoomba on Sunday.