SWEET VICTORY: Jess Powell (back left) and her CQ Mudcrabs teammates celebrate after winning the TRL national mixed title in Redcliffe. INSET: Jess in the green and gold.
SWEET VICTORY: Jess Powell (back left) and her CQ Mudcrabs teammates celebrate after winning the TRL national mixed title in Redcliffe. INSET: Jess in the green and gold. CONTRIBUTED

Rocky athlete savouring her TRL triumph

TRL: Rockhampton's Jess Powell has returned from four days of gruelling competition in Redcliffe as a World Cup and Australian champion.

And just one goal denied her State of Origin glory after the Queensland women's team she captained was beaten in a tightly contested three-game series by New South Wales.

It was a remarkable comeback for the 25-year-old who broke and tore ligaments in her ankle in a rugby union game in July.

Powell invested hours in her rehabilitation to ensure she could fulfil her rep duties - and the hard work certainly paid off.

She was honoured to captain her state in the Origin series and was thrilled to don the green and gold for her country and play a part in the national mixed team's victory in the inaugural World Cup.

Jess Powell sporting her moon boot in August.
Jess Powell sporting her moon boot in August. Allan Reinikka ROK030818ajess1

But she said the greatest victory came on the final day when she and her CQ Mudcrabs teammates claimed the elusive APL national mixed title with a commanding win over East Brisbane in the grand final.

"Out of all of them, that was the sweetest because it's one we'd been chasing for a long time,” Powell said.

"We've made the finals before and come close so many times but to finally get the win was amazing.”

Powell said the players' skills were put to the test in torrential rain and unseasonably cold temperatures.

"I'd never been so cold. We were playing in jumpers with our jerseys over the top,” she said.

"They brought out heaters so you could warm up between games and the supermarket next door sold out of towels.”

Powell said the Mudcrabs' talented line-up took charge in the decider and were never threatened.

"The final was never in doubt and I think our game smarts came into it. We defended well, we held the ball in attack and didn't make any silly mistakes.”

Rockhampton's State of Origin representatives (from left) Alex Buckley, Jessica Powell, Jemma Collins, Jayden Vea Vea and Leroy Richards.
Rockhampton's State of Origin representatives (from left) Alex Buckley, Jessica Powell, Jemma Collins, Jayden Vea Vea and Leroy Richards. CONTRIBUTED

Powell said while the State of Origin defeat was a little disappointing, it was fantastic to be part of it.

"It was a great experience to captain the team,” she said.

"It was interesting coming into a team where the players had to bond really quickly - but we managed to do that.

"The series was really close and the girls really rallied around, dug deep and played hard.

"In the first game we were beaten by one in a drop-off, in the second we got up by two and the third game we were beaten by one goal.”

The Australian mixed team after their World Cup victory.
The Australian mixed team after their World Cup victory. CONTRIBUTED

Powell then joined the Australian mixed team in the World Cup.

They defeated the Indigenous team in the grand final, reversing the result of their meeting in the round games.

Powell said it felt good to be part of TRL history.

"It was awesome to wear the green and gold. It was the first time I'd done it so that was something very special,” she said.

"It's the first World Cup and it's pretty amazing to see our team name engraved on the trophy as the first ever mixed winner.”



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