SAM BREMNER is determined to lift the World Cup trophy with the Jillaroos to be an inspiration to her children.
Bremner is Australia’s co-captain in this year’s tournament and one of only two players, alongside Ali Brigginshaw, to have been part of their previous World Cup triumphs in 2013 and 2017 as well.
But this one would mean more than the others because the fullback has since had two children, including one last autumn when the tournament was initially meant to be played.
When daughter Lakey, who turned one last week, joined son Reef, who is now three, in the family, Bremner had a long and unlikely journey back to playing for her country.
But a return to the game in March, in the local New South Wales competition, saw her selected for State of Origin and led to a deal with Sydney Roosters in the growing NRLW, where her performances have earned her a place in the defending champions’ squad in England.
That route has not been easily navigated but she hopes to have not only proved that you can be both a mother and a Rugby League star, but also provided a role model for her kids.
“For me personally, this year has been a huge year of trying to get this jersey back,” said Bremner, whose side face New Zealand in a mouth-watering final group match on Thursday in York.
“That meant spending time away from kids and juggling a lot – not that I’m the only one, every single player juggles things.
“When we are able to lift that cup above our heads, no doubt in my mind that will instantly give that feeling of: ‘it was all worth it’.
“And also be able to add that bit into the story when I tell my kids, that anything is possible. That’s one of the reasons why I’m here, to inspire them.
“Whenever they come to a crossroads and there’s something they’re not sure they can achieve, I want them to be able to hear the story of me returning to this jersey, and I would love that story to finish with me holding that cup above my head.
“My coaching staff really supported my choice to have a family and put the brakes on my career, so that’s another reason why I want to lift the cup so badly.
“I feel like it’s going to be a thank you to those who supported my choices of doing both my dreams, in having a family and playing Rugby League. I couldn’t think of a better way to say thanks than winning a World Cup.”
Bremner, 30, announced her return to the international stage in spectacular fashion last week with four tries in Australia’s opening win over Cook Islands.
But she was not so confident of her ability to play again at the top level at the beginning of this year.
“Whilst returning I had to really make an effort to instil a lot of self-belief, because I was up against some wonderful athletes (for places in the Jillaroos squad) that had never left the game,” she said.
“I thought when I took time off to have children, they’d continued to up-skill themselves. That put a lot of fear in me, that I was starting behind.
“But I just had to remember how much this meant to me and how important it would be to tell my kids in the future.
“Like anything in life, the harder you work for something the more it means when you achieve it. That’s how I feel wearing this jersey.”