You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content

Jillaroos utility Lauren Brown grew up dreaming of playing at Old Trafford but the former W-League star never thought she would get the chance to do so playing rugby league.

Brown, who played for Brisbane Roar and Newcastle Jets before switching to rugby sevens, is hoping to earn a place on the bench for the World Cup final after starring at halfback in Australia’s 82-0 semi-final defeat of Papua New Guinea.

The 27-year-old can also play hooker, centre or second row, and her versatility will ensure she is in contention for a spot in the decider against the Kiwi Ferns at Old Trafford, known to Manchester United fans as the Theatre of Dreams.

“Oh my gosh, I was thinking, ‘is this a dream come true?' Honestly, if I get the chance to play at Old Trafford I will be pinching myself,” Brown said.

“It is a fantastic stadium, and especially with my soccer background, it will be incredible to play there.

“I used to watch the EPL, I was a Liverpool fan, and they have some incredible stadiums over here, so the chance to be able to play rugby league at Old Trafford is pretty cool, and something I am really looking forward to if I get picked.

“If not, I am sure the girls who do play will do us proud too and I will be cheering from the sideline.”

Tonegato supreme in player of the match performance

Jillaroos coach Brad Donald revealed the players had set their sights on playing at Old Trafford since the World Cup draw was announced and had studied the history of the famous stadium.

“We brought the players into camp a couple of years ago and we googled Old Trafford, and we looked into the history of the ground,” Donald said.

“To be one of the first teams to play rugby league there will be a great opportunity for our girls and something really special to be a part of.

“We have been talking about it for a long time, now all the pieces of the puzzle have come together, and we are really looking forward to playing there.”

Despite being favourites to win a third consecutive World Cup, the Jillaroos have left no stone unturned and watched the Kangaroos play at Elland Road last weekend to experience the atmosphere at a big stadium.

Donald confirmed the seven players who didn’t play against the Orchids – Kezie Apps, Simaima Taufa, Julia Robinson, Tarryn Aiken, Kennedy Cherrington, Caitlan Johnston and Shannon Mato - would return for the final.

He also said Emma Tonegato would be in the squad after scoring three tries in a player of the match performance at fullback, just four days after playing 60 minutes at lock against New Zealand.

Lauren Brown pilots one if her ninne conversions against Australia.
Lauren Brown pilots one if her ninne conversions against Australia.

Brown also played on the bench against the Kiwi Ferns and is hoping to again get the nod from Donald.

“We knew from the start that it would take 24 girls to win this thing and we have an incredible amount of depth in this squad so it is good that a few people can play in different positions, which comes in really handy,” she said.

“It is such a competitive squad, so the ability to play a couple of different positions is something I pride myself on and it has helped me wedge my way in there a bit. Wherever the team needs me I am willing to go there.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Gold Coast Titans proudly acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of the land on which we are situated, the Kombumerri families of the Yugambeh Language Region. We pay our respects to their Elders past, present and emerging, and recognise their continuing connections to the lands, waters and their extended communities throughout South East Queensland.