Ali Brigginshaw, one of the biggest names in women’s rugby league, has married her partner Kate Daley.

In an exclusive chat with Star Observer, Brigginshaw, captain of the Brisbane Broncos, said she and Kate decided to elope and get married, a year after a very public proposal. But it was not actually love at first sight.

“We first met in 2009 through a mutual friend in Ipswich. We weren’t very fond of each other, haha…  It wasn’t until years later in 2018 that I started going to the same gym as Kate that we became friends. I proposed to Kate at my 30th birthday (in 2019), 16 months after we started dating and then we eloped to Kingscliff on December 30, 2020, (to get married)”, said Brigginshaw.

Coming Out

The Australian rugby league football player recently topped the list of  ‘Top Five National Rugby League Women’s Premiership (NRLW) 2020 players‘. Brigginshaw recently led the Brisbane Broncos team to its third consecutive NRLW Premiership win and has been in two Rugby League World Cup teams in 2013 and 2017. Brigginshaw was in October awarded the Daly M Female Player of The Year 2020 medal.

Ali Brigginshaw said she never made a conscious decision to be out. “It (coming out) just really happened when I became comfortable with myself. I am proud of who I am and when I’m in a relationship I’m proud of that too. I just live my life.”

The acceptance of family, friends and teammates has been overwhelming to the news of the marriage. Hate has come mostly from social media.

“The challenges mostly come from comments on social media. I very rarely read articles or comments, I ignore all negative comments surrounding my relationship or sexuality. Whilst I respect everyone being entitled to an opinion, I don’t think that gives anyone the right to leave messages of hate to anyone,” said Brigginshaw.

Her message to other LGBTQI sportspersons: “Back yourself, You don’t need to hide who you are!”

The National Rugby League had thrown its weight behind the ‘Yes’ campaign in the 2017 national marriage equality vote, after a push from Ian Roberts, the first rugby player to come out in 1995.

The Wedding

Brigginshaw had announced the wedding on Instagram and Facebook with the hashtag #justmarried on December 30, 2020.

“I’ve loved you from the moment we met and now I get to love you forever,” Brigginshaw posted photos from the beach wedding in Kingscliff, New South Wales.

“A day I will never forget. I love you Ali Brigginshaw, Thankyou for making my life a fairytale,” said Kate, who changed her last name to Brigginshaw on Instagram.

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 “It’s hard to put into words how special this day was to me. We had always planned to elope. We wanted the day to be no fuss, just us and the kids,” said Kate in another post. Kate said both her kids Addison and Alfie were happy with the marriage.

“I truly used to dream about a love like this and I get a lump in my throat just looking at these photos and thinking back over the last few years. These three make me so happy. Addison had tears streaming down her face during the ceremony, she said she was so happy she had happy tears. It makes me teary knowing how grateful she is to be loved by Ali. I’m so proud of us. Proud of our love and proud of the life we have created together,” Kate added.

The Kiss On The Stands

The couple have been together for three years. Brigginshaw had for the first time publicly acknowledged the relationship, when she kissed Kate in the stands, after captaining the Broncos to its first NRLW Premiership title in October 2018.

Brigginshaw had dropped to her knees during her 30th birthday celebrations in December 2019 and proposed marriage to Kate.

“I will never forget the day you asked me to be your girlfriend, 16 months to this day. And I hope you will never forget this moment. I love you with all my heart — will you marry me?,” Brigginsahw said.

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