PRIZED RECRUIT: Heather Ballinger (left) was one of five women's players named for inaugural contracts with the Brisbane Broncos ahead of the NRL Women's competition in September.
PRIZED RECRUIT: Heather Ballinger (left) was one of five women's players named for inaugural contracts with the Brisbane Broncos ahead of the NRL Women's competition in September. Brisbane Broncos Media

Southern Downs connection for Broncos women

RUGBY LEAGUE: Southern Downs player Heather Ballinger is one of the first five signings for the Brisbane Broncs in their inaugural NRL women's premiership team.

Ali Brigginshaw, Brittany Breayley, Ballinger and Caitlin Moran have all penned contracts, along with the first international signing for an Australian club, Kiwi Teuila Fotu-Moala.

"Coach Paul Dyer and our team have gone through a thorough process to craft our squad and we are really happy with the players we have in our sights, both in their ability on the football field and their attitude off the field in terms of buying into the Broncos culture,” Broncos NRLW CEO Tain Drinkwater said.

The signature of Killarney player Stephanie Hancock will be one of the most sought after for the inaugural competition after Hancock played in the Australian team to win last year's World Cup.

It was her class and leadership in the last 10 minutes which ensured an Australian Jillaroos victory in the cup final in Brisbane. Brigginshaw was player of the match in the final.

Origin team

STEPHANIE Hancock and Heather Ballinger have been selected in the Harvey Norman Queensland Women's team to take on New South Wales.

The match on June 22 at North Sydney Oval will mark the first occasion that the game will be played under the State of Origin brand (previously named the Interstate Challenge).

Hancock, who is originally from Killarney, and Ballinger, who completed her secondary education at Scots PGC College in Warwick, both started in the World Cup final in Brisbane in December where Australia retained the cup with a win against New Zealand.

Former Origin hooker Jason Hetherington is coach, with former Jillaroos Nat Dwyer and Karyn Murphy his assistant coaches.

Often former international Jo Barrett commentates on the women's footy after turning to broadcasting after retiring from the game. Barrett, who is originally from Warwick, was in the World Cup-winning team more than four years ago.

Co-captain Hancock and six Jillaroos World Cup teammates are in the Maroons team.

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