Jillaroos captains Kezie Apps and Ali Brigginshaw.

Australia has two captains in Ali Brigginshaw and Kezie Apps so who do the Jillaroos listen to if they are both on the World Cup 9s field at the same time?

And that is certain to be the case as halfback Brigginshaw and back-rower Apps play vital roles in team cohesion between the forwards and play makers.

"The short answer is both," said Jillaroos forward Tallisha Harden.

"They are both real leaders but different girls. Ali is that 'general', always directing play and organising, whereas Kezie will be that bust-the-ball up type - someone you want to follow in support.

"She does a lot of hard work up the middle. Ali talks and you listen so they're a really nice balance."

Centre Isabelle Kelly has no doubt Apps and Brigginshaw can co-exist as skippers.

"They're both different positions. Ali is more the ball-player and Kezie is the one who runs those lines and gets us on the front foot," Kelly told NRL.com.

"So they both lead us by example. Kezie has always done that really well and Ali is just really good on the field with talking and communication.

"So they both will stand up for us."

Both Kelly and Harden have played the Nines format, either at the former Auckland tournament which ran for four years (2014-2017) and then the 2018 Commonwealth Championship held at Redcliffe's Dolphin Oval.

"It's really exciting and I think we've got a really versatile team. There's not many big girls in this team so it means our forwards are also fit and mobile," Kelly said.

"It's obviously different to the 13s game but I think it will be a lot of fun.

"Nines is a little bit of luck. You do something to set-up a play or sometimes it just happens before your eyes – it really depends on what the defence is doing.

"We've got a lot of smart playmakers in our team so they will all help steering us around the park."

Harden said head coach Brad Donald and his assistants Neil Henry and Jamie Feeney had been emphasising the need for forwards to first do the early work just like a NRLW game.

"The hits are just as hard because you have to win that contact to slow everything down otherwise the game gets away from you," Harden said.

"So you need to get your hits in to try to stop the momentum of the opposition.

"Brad, Neil and Feeney have been giving us some tips that might help us get out of trouble. But their message is: 'If it's on, have a go; look up and if there's space, go for it'. Then you can fall back into your structure.

"So Nines is a bit of both – structure and care-free footy. We won't be plodding through. We'll be chucking the ball around a fair bit too."

Isabelle Kelly at Jillaroos training ahead of the World Cup 9s.
Isabelle Kelly at Jillaroos training ahead of the World Cup 9s. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

As for Kelly, she's had her fair share of hurdles during the NRLW season with the Roosters.

"Look I was a bit of unlucky with premiership games… I seemed to cop something each time. It has very draining mentally but I'm back on top now and loving being a part of this team.

"It's my favourite jersey [Jillaroos] to pull on and I'm lucky enough to do it again this year."

And the 2019 Nines sees both the Kangaroos and Jillaroos wearing jerseys featuring indigenous artwork and patterns.

"It's something I'm really proud of as you get to represent the whole country, all our people, especially our first peoples," Kelly said.

 

For ticket and travel packages for the Downer Rugby League World Cup 9s Sydney 2019, head to nrl.com/tickets.