Queensland skipper Ali Brigginshaw has revealed the stirring message she gave Maroons debutant Keilee Joseph before her Player of the Match performance in the State of Origin opener.
Joseph was outstanding, running for 103 metres and laying 23 tackles as the Maroons claimed a vital 18-10 victory at CommBank Stadium in Sydney.
The 21-year-old lock played with the words “nanny” and “poppy” written on her taped wrists as she revealed her sick grandfather had been a major source of inspiration.
AS IT HAPPENED:Maroons take Origin opener after stirring second half
READ MORE:Blues coach fumes over hit that left star ‘coughing up blood’
READ MORE: Captain Tedesco axed in team Blues must pick next
However, Joseph’s grandparents weren’t her only source of inspiration on the night, with her skipper Brigginshaw opening up on her own words of advice to her young teammate.
“I spoke to her before the game and said, ‘You don’t want to be a one-game player, you want to [play for] 10 years’,” she told Nine.
“I wanted her to set her standards and set a legacy for that jersey and she did that tonight.”
Joseph revealed that she was “very, very nervous” in the lead-up to the match, calling her Player of the Match award “amazing”.
Queensland also revealed how the stirring comeback win from their male counterparts on Wednesday night laid the platform for their own victory.
“Definitely (drew inspiration from last night), the boys played an awesome game and we wanted to bring that out tonight as well,” Maroons star Julia Robinson, who scored a double, told Nine.
“We just had to be calm and set ourselves back up and just go out there and connect with each other.”
“I was just so proud of how the girls were together as a team. We watched the boys last night and they just showed up for each other, so if anything, watching them showed us the way,” added Brigginshaw.
Watch the 2023 State of Origin series LIVE and exclusive on Channel 9 and9Now
“We’ve got so many young kids, but I loved how we brought it together.”
The two sides will meet again in Townsville on June 22 for the series finale, with NSW needing a victory by nine points or more to retain the Origin shield.
For a daily dose of the best of the breaking news and exclusive content from Wide World of Sports, subscribe to our newsletter byclicking here!
State of Origin I 2023 in pictures: No frills hero’s priceless reaction to man of the match honour
The partnership marks Puma’s continued expansion into football, meeting the region’s ever-growing passion for the game with one of the Arab World’s most celebrated and successful football clubs.
Commenting on the partnership, The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Al-Hilal Club Mr. Fahad Bin Saad Bin Nafel said: “We’re delighted about this new partnership with Puma until 2027.
“The long-term nature of this agreement means both parties are committed to work together with a strong focus on bringing global exposure for the team as well as developing new campaigns and initiatives which place our communities in the spotlight.
“We are excited to start our journey together with PUMA being the first in the region with our very own bespoke kit designs and we believe that this partnership will set a new benchmark for Saudi football.”
Puma Middle East GM, Taner Seyis, added: “The partnership we signed with Al-Hilal provides new opportunities with one of the world’s most passionate football fanbases, in a market that is seeing unprecedented growth and dynamism across all industries. We are committed to working together with Al- Hilal, in the Kingdom and globally, to deliver impact both on and off the pitch.”
As part of the partnership, we will see both organizations working together to provide long-term initiatives for Saudi youth, connect with local communities, and create exclusive Puma product ranges to the delight of fans across the Kingdom and the globe.
There were plenty of other former Reds in action across the hotly-anticipated contest, too, with both Chris Smalling and Nemanja Matic starting for Roma.
Smalling has become something of a regular following his move to Rome back in 2020, with Matic having just completed his first full season in Italy after departing Manchester at the end of our 2021/22 campaign.
Despite taking the lead in the contest, it wasn’t to be for the Giallorossi, with wild scenes clear for all to see following another Sevilla success.
Congratulations on your triumph, Alex!
It was written in the stars. ✨ 7️⃣ times, @EuropaLeague 𝑪𝑯𝑨𝑴𝑷𝑰𝑶𝑵𝑺. ⚪️🔴