Pilley plans to make All Stars statement
Broncos NRLW centre Amber Pilley is hoping to use Friday's All Stars clash as a launching pad for a massive 2019, with her sights set on a place in the Queensland Origin team.
The proud Wiradjuri woman will represent the Indigenous All Stars for the third time in her career, when they play the Maori All Stars in a historic first clash in Melbourne.
The match will kick off the women's rugby league calendar for 2019 and will be the first major game Pilley has played since last year's NRLW grand final, where Brisbane were crowned the inaugural premiers.
Last season was a breakout year for Pilley, who has worked her way through the ranks with the Burleigh Bears.
She was one of the last players signed to Brisbane's squad but proved to be a star, earning a starting spot ahead of Round 1 and holding onto it for the short season.
Now Pilley has her sights set on going to the next level.
"I've never played in the State of Origin so I would love to be in the Queensland team," she said of her 2019 goals.
"Last year, the Broncos experience was life-changing so I want to retain my position with them but I also want to try and crack State of Origin.
"Because the All Stars game is always off the back of an off-season, I feel like I have played mediocre in the past.
"But this year I am feeling more confident and I want to make more of an impact and get more involved than I usually do.
"This is the first pre-season where I was running at home by myself or with my sister. I've never taken that initiative before but the Broncos routine has kept me at a good standard.
"(The All Stars) is exposure. I am sure coaches and selectors will be watching … it's important to play to the best of our ability."
As well as pushing for her personal goals, Friday's meeting with the Maori All Stars also has personal meaning for Pilley.
The 21-year-old's Indigenous heritage comes from her father's side, with his family from Mudgee in NSW. She has done a lot of research into her culture over the years and sees the All Stars game as a highlight of the season.
"I strongly identify as Indigenous and it's something I've had to do a lot of research about so I can feel confident and strong and proud," she said.
"We're all trying to figure out more about who we are and our history so this is a good week because we get to learn from each other."
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