AAP Rugby

Ballinger ready to fire for Broncos women

By AAP Newswire

Growing up on a cattle station with no power made it tough for Heather Ballinger to catch her beloved Brisbane Broncos on TV.

Especially when the family TV is powered by a generator turned on for just three hours a day.

Ballinger can laugh these days about the arguments she had with her parents in order to keep the generator on for Brisbane TV games now she has become a Bronco herself.

Jillaroos prop Ballinger, 36, will spearhead the Broncos pack in their NRL Women's Premiership second round clash with Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium on Friday night in a men's semi-final curtainraiser.

The inaugural NRL women's tournament realises a childhood dream for Ballinger first hatched while savouring precious extra generator time on the family's Queensland outback station, almost three hours drive west of Longreach.

"We only had the generator on for three hours on the afternoon," Ballinger said.

"You wanted to turn the generator off as soon as you can because you've got a big day at work the next day.

"(But) on football night ... I used to beg my mum and dad and say 'please let me watch, I will do whatever I have to do, I will be at up 4am, it's all good'."

Ballinger learned the rules listening intently to TV commentators as the generator whirred away.

"That is how I started to learn the game," she said.

"But it was a men's game. To try and picture women playing football, I never thought that day would come.

"So it's nice to now hear girls aspire to be us."

Ballinger - an eight year Jillaroos veteran - said lessons learned out on the family station had helped forge her path to the Broncos.

"It teaches you we don't always get what we want, nothing comes easy," said Ballinger, who featured in the Jillaroos' 2013 and 2017 World Cup success.

"And it showed me if you are willing to hang in there, the opportunity will come."