JIL­LA­ROOS EN­TER THE UN­KNOWN

Daily Mercury - - TV GUIDE LIFE - — Cal­lum Dick

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.”

PHOTO: MARK EVANS

READY TO GO: Ali Brig­gin­shaw says the Cook Is­lands will be no pushovers.

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