JILLAROOS ENTER THE UNKNOWN
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ipswich Brothers star Ali Brigginshaw has cautioned her Australian Jillaroos team not to be complacent ahead of their Women’s Rugby League World Cup opener with the Cook Islands Moana today.
Brigginshaw was named in the starting line-up for the Jillaroos alongside Brothers teammate Brittany Breayley to begin the Aussies’ World Cup title defence.
Brigginshaw admitted today’s opponents were an unknown commodity.
“We’ve never played against the Cook Islands before, so for us they’re our biggest challenge first up,” the Aussie number six said.
“We know they’ll be very physical, they have a lot of rugby union players in their ranks but hopefully our fitness can get us through in the end.
“We know we can’t be complacent. If we each do our job, we should get the result we want.”
After almost three weeks in camp, Brigginshaw said the team was champing at the bit to hit the field at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
“It’s been a big couple of weeks of training, but we’re looking forward to finally getting out there and playing,” she said.
“Everyone has a really good vibe about them, we all have our eye on the World Cup and everyone is focused.”
The Aussies enter the tournament as odds-on favourites to add a second World Cup trophy to their cabinet, having won the 2013 iteration in England.
If they are to make it back-to-back wins, it will mean playing five games in 17 days.
That stacked schedule is a big reason Jillaroos coach Brad Donald will rest seven starters for today’s clash. The Aussies will blood four debutants in Cronulla, but despite the fresh faces Brigginshaw is confident the team will still show up on the big stage.
“In camp, when we’ve swapped out the starters you can barely notice a change and that’s what we’re really proud of,” she said. “There’s confidence in the whole squad of 24.”
READY TO GO: Ali Brigginshaw says the Cook Islands will be no pushovers.