Women's Rugby League at North Ipswich Reserve.  Ipswich Brothers vs Easts.
Women's Rugby League at North Ipswich Reserve. Ipswich Brothers vs Easts. Franca Tigani

Brothers out of grand final hunt

A STUMBLE at the penultimate hurdle will not stop the Brothers Ipswich women from returning bigger and better in 2019 says Ali Brigginshaw.

But the team needs reinforcements.

Nursing a number of key injuries, Brothers failed to book their place in a second-consecutive SEQ Women's Division 1 decider following a 16-12 defeat to West Brisbane Panthers at the weekend.

The blue and white fielded less than the allowed number of players the week before in a major semi-final defeat to Burleigh, and Brigginshaw said Brothers had fewer players again for the knockout final on Saturday.

"We just ran out of numbers. We had a lot of injuries,” the Brisbane Bronco said.

"When the other team have 19, 20 players and you only have 16 you'll always struggle.”

And it was not just the numbers game going against Brothers. It was the calibre of player missing as well.

Brigginshaw's inaugural NRL Women's Premiership Broncos teammates Amelia Kuk, Kody House and Maitua Feterika were all unavailable on Saturday.

Key utility Jessica Carey also missed the match through injury.

"It's life with football. Teams can win every game, but lose your big stars and you're done,” Brigginshaw said.

"We lost most of our rep players toward the end of the year, and then we had to put people in positions they hadn't played in all year.”

The Jillaroos halfback said the lesson learned from season 2018 was Brothers needed "some young girls that want to learn and we can build for the future”.

And club allegiances can be put aside.

"Because the women's season is so interrupted , it's hard to get a good feel in the team,” Brigginshaw said.

"We need enough people so that when we are away, the team can be confident in winning.

"Ipswich has a huge female player base. Everyone knows I'm a Norths girl, but it doesn't matter if you play for Norths, it's about being from Ipswich and being proud.

"Brothers will have them on-board. There's great coaches and the facilities are great.”