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Broncos halfback Ali Brigginshaw.

She is from Ipswich, wears the number seven jersey with distinction and is captain of the Brisbane Broncos.

So it is no surprise when Ali Brigginshaw was given Allan Langer's old locker at the start of the NRL Holden Women’s Premiership it reinforced in her heart and soul why she has been playing rugby league for 20 years.

Brigginshaw will captain Brisbane in the NRLW grand final against the Sydney Roosters on Sunday with a sense of purpose inspired by a family connection with Langer and a burning desire to wear the Broncos logo.

As a nine-year-old Brigginshaw represented Norths Tigers in Ipswich and would run around in her backyard pretending to be Langer. Now little girls who aspire to Broncos want to be Brigginshaw, such is the growing influence of the new NRLW.

Brigginshaw's father Larry represented Queensland at halfback and played alongside the likes of Greg Dowling and Lewis before Langer came on the scene, but the connection between the Langer and Brigginshaw family is remarkable. Larry was a star half for Norths Tigers in Ipswich and was captain of the first-grade side, as was Langer in his younger days.

It is why being assigned Langer's locker at Broncos HQ was a dream come true for Brigginshaw.

Broncos captain Ali Brigginshaw.
Broncos captain Ali Brigginshaw. ©Broncos media/Broncos Media

"It was kind of surreal because I didn't think it would happen. When I went in and saw my locker it was a crazy feeling because we are good friends, me and Alfie," Brigginshaw told

"I know his mum [Rita], from Norths, and all his family. Every time I see him we always have a chat. He is like family, being from Ipswich also.

"When I was nine all I wanted to do was play rugby league so now when I play it feels like it is where I am meant to be, and it is just crazy I get to do it in a Broncos jersey."

Now 28, Brigginshaw recalls watching Langer captain Brisbane to the 1998 grand final triumph over Canterbury, the Ipswich champion's fourth and last premiership as skipper.

20 years later, she wants to replicate his achievements in the inaugural NRLW competition.

"Our mindset has been that the Broncos are a team that has got to a lot of finals, so for us to be in the grand final in the first year I think it would be very fitting for us to get the win in Broncos colours," Brigginshaw said.

"As a captain there are times where I might have to stand up and say some words at training but other than that the team is so easy to be captain of.

"Before we go out to play I don’t need to say much to these girls. They all know what our game plan is so I just try and lead with my actions, try and keep calm and they will follow."

Match Highlights: NRLW Broncos v Warriors - Round 3; 2018

Coach Paul Dyer has spoken to Wayne Bennett about the secrets to getting through grand final week successfully and Dyer has passed the key messages onto his team. It is advice Brigginshaw, who will have plenty of media interviews and functions to get through this week, intends to follow.

"We have had a bit of a talk to some of the people who have  done NRL grand final week before and Wayne Bennett said to embrace the whole week,” she said.

"There are a lot of events to go to, lots of media but [his advice was] to take it all in and enjoy the moment rather than think about the game straight away."

Bennett recently told that Langer was "the greatest Bronco" and the most influential player the club has had in its 30-year history.

Broncos fullback Chelsea Baker.
Broncos fullback Chelsea Baker. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

When Bigginshaw hangs up her boots she may well receive the same kind of praise for what she has done for the club and the women's game in general.

Whatever the Jillaroo and Queensland star goes on to achieve, Langer's legacy will always be with her.

That's just one reason why he might be getting a call from her in the next few days ahead of the grand final.

"It wouldn’t be bad if I could give him a call and get some tips on the week and the game, but I am hoping to have a chat to him to see if I can get my jersey up in Alfie’s Bar at the [Broncos] Leagues Club,"  Brigginshaw grinned.

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National Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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