Brisbane Broncos lock Ali Brigginshaw has received the highest individual accolade in the women’s game, named as the female player of the year at the Dally M awards.
Brigginshaw captained Brisbane to back-to-back NRLW premierships in 2018 and 2019.
She scored the game-sealing try in the Broncos’ win over the Roosters last weekend, and she and her team will attempt to complete a hat-trick when they face the Roosters again in Sunday’s grand final.
The skipper changed over from half-back to a forward role this season, and she polled 16 votes to win the Dally M medal for female player of the year.
Brigginshaw won by two votes from another Bronco, full-back Tamika Upton.
Roosters second-rower Hannah Southwell, who will face Brisbane in the grand final, came third with 13 votes.
Brigginshaw became the second Brisbane Broncos player — after Brittany Breayley in 2018 — to win the award.
She told ABC Newsradio she had not expected to win.
“I knew we had to stay for dinner, and the cross to the Dallys (Dally M Awards), but I thought it was just a chat regarding the (grand) final on Sunday,” she said.
“It (the award) took me by surprise, I still can’t believe it. It was very awkward having to do it (via) live cross.
Brigginshaw was keen to credit the mentoring she had received from senior players early on in her career.
“I think it’s the girls I’ve been around from a young age — they’ve taught me a lot of things to take on to the field.
“How to be calm, or how to get the girls ready without overcomplicating things.
“The Karen Murphys and Nat Dwyers, those girls that were there before me when I was a young girl, that brought me up. Now it’s my turn to be that old girl on the field”.
The Ipswich native took up the game when she was 10.
“Some of those guys are my best mates, or [they] message me before I go out and play.
“Being the only girl there were a couple of boys who really took me under their wing and guided me through, I think it taught me a lot of toughness and resilience to play the game.
“There were lots of negative comments when I was playing the game, and I had to overcome them.
As the Broncos get set to try for a third title in as many years, Brigginshaw said her team had some advantages but she expected a fierce challenge from the Roosters.
“Some of those [Brisbane] girls have been there and experienced that before [at grand finals] and I think that might help on the day, but it’s all about preparation,” she said.
“We’ve got to prepare well. We can’t go in there thinking it’s going to be a win. The Roosters have done really well this year and they truly deserve to be there, and they’re a very tough side so it’ll be a big game.”