Bremner racing the clock for Jillaroos
Australia fullback Sam Bremner is confident of not letting anyone down if she is called upon to play in the women’s World Cup semi-finals on Sunday despite not having a lead-up game under her belt.
There is a very real possibility a nasty knock to her right shin during training might keep her out the line-up for Wednesday’s final pool game against Canada. She received the bad cork after colliding with a teammates’ knee while clearing the ball during a kick-return drill.
“The doctor says it’s in a really unfortunate spot as it is controlling my ankle and other muscles,” Bremner told NRL.com. “He actually feared at first I might have fractured it – so for a moment there I thought I was dealing with a broken leg.”
The injury continues a run of bad luck. She aggravated a right ankle strain in NSW’s 22-6 win over Queensland in July and also missed the Anzac Test against the Kiwi Ferns in May after a head knock in training.
The latest injury confined her to the stands for the World Cup clashes with Cook Islands and England.
If she doesn’t make coach Brad Donald’s side named on Tuesday the next match is sudden-death – the semi-finals.
“I back myself in adjusting to situations like that,” Bremner said. “I’ll always do what needs to be done, but if it’s not ready by Wednesday I wouldn’t put myself, my team or my country in that position.
“I’m close to 100 per cent but not there yet. So I’m doing everything I can to get back on the field. I’m constantly icing; constantly dry-needling it (acupuncture). I felt so good on Sunday morning that I went down to breakfast and told the coach ‘I’m ready to go. You need to make a late change’.
‘’He just laughed as he knows how hungry I am to get out there. I’ll be ready for when the time comes.”
Donald rated Bremner as being 95 per cent fit and improving daily.
“Sammy is going OK. We just want to make sure we’ve got everyone’s volume under control. We just want to make sure she gets back to 100 per cent,” he said.
“She’s a game breaker for us but we also have not lost anything with Nakia (Davis-Welsh) playing. She’s been outstanding and she’s a star in the making given the last two games where she’s showed how good she is.”
And there’s the rub. Just when most outside the Jillaroos’ inner circle thought 25-year-old Bremner was irreplaceable, up stepped 21-year-old Davis-Welsh.
Her impeccably-balanced running style and right-hand fend that would make Greg Inglis proud.
She showed both in the Jillaroos’ second try in the 38-0 trouncing of England.
After the initial line break by Meg Ward and a superb offload by Ali Brigginshaw, Davis-Welsh ran the final 50 metres, punctuating the length-of-the-field movement by palming off England’s defence before placing the ball down over the line.
The class of the Redfern All Blacks utility was not lost on Bremner.
“Watching Nakia, now I know that when the day comes (to leave Jillaroos) that the No.1 jersey is definitely in good hands,” Bremner said, who made her Jillaroos debut at the 2103 World Cup.
“I have a lot of faith in her and that helps calm me as well. I know the team can adapt to anything and still do a really good job. That eases some of my nerves and the pressure to get back out there.
“I’m trying to stay positive and consider this [enforced rest] as a blessing because when I finally get out there, I’m going to have so much energy it’s going to be ridiculous.”
Donald is counting on it. “Everyone knows how good Sammy Bremner is, so it’s not a bad card to keep in our back pocket and pull it out when she’s ready,” he said.