Maroons star forced to step away from the game for six years
RUGBY LEAGUE: As the girls of the southwest took to the footy field, Brisbane Broncos halfback Ali Brigginshaw watched on in awe and reflected on how far women's rugby league has come in recent years.
Brigginshaw was in Roma on Tuesday as more than 100 female league players battled it out in hopes to raise the Ali Brigginshaw Shield.
The accomplished Broncos halfback has captained the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons and the Brisbane Broncos, she also won woman of the match at the 2017 Women's Rugby League World Cup Final representing the Jillaroos.
But success didn't come easy. Growing up, Brigginshaw was the only girl to play in Ipswich - a rugby league city - but was forced to step away from the game between ages 12-18 because of the physicality.
Brigginshaw said it was inspiring to see the next generations of girls out west getting an opportunity to play at a young age.
"It's just so uplifting to see how many teams there are for them to play in," Brigginshaw said.
"We are slowly doing it but you can see how far it has come."
Brigginshaw said she travelled everywhere to make her dream come true.
"You can see the parents here today who have driven 3-4 hours to give their kids a chance, it just shows how much they want it and it'll be amazing to see how far they go," she said.
"Seeing how much they want to play is inspiring considering how tough and hot it is out here.
"There are certainly some future rugby prodigies here today, by the time they hit 18 they could be on the scene."