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Kirra Dibb sat at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in June and watched on as her former NSW teammates scraped to a last-minute win but lost the Origin series on points differential.

There were mixed emotions.

Dibb, coming off an NRLW premiership victory with the Knights, played a huge role in the Sky Blues’ State of Origin success just 12 months earlier.

With no NRLW scheduled in the first half of the year, Dibb’s North Sydney Bears finished minor premiers in the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership and she was a large part of their success in the halves.

She then produced a player of the match performance for NSW Country in the City-Country fixture in Kogarah – an Origin trial of sorts – but despite all that she was overlooked for the entire series. 

So, why did she attend the second game alongside a record-breaking crowd in Townsville?

“Because in the end the girls that are on the field are my friends and they could be my teammates again someday,” Dibb tells

“As disappointed as I was to not be out there with them it was still the biggest game of the year in women’s rugby league.

Dibb demolishes Knights

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“There’s only so much time you can dwell on something and as much as it hurts you’re not going to start kicking stones.”

Many questioned Dibb’s omission, none more so than when the Sky Blues lost Origin I on home turf with the halves combination of Rachael Pearson and Jesse Southwell not clicking during the match.

If Dibb's on-field performances often do the talking, then there must have been more to it, right?

Dibb pauses when asked the question.

“When it comes to missing selection in big teams, I just think people have different thoughts and opinions,” she said.

“Maybe I wasn’t playing to the standard they were looking for or I don’t suit the style of play they want but I feel like I’m always a team player and get along with my teammates.

“Throughout my career I’ve tried to take every obstacle in my stride. I let myself feel the emotion and then move on to the next job.

“You have to pick yourself up a bunch of times. I would like to say I was resilient about missing Origin but that doesn’t take away from the fact I was really hurt.

“One day I might get back there again but I want to control the controllable and selection isn’t one of them unfortunately.”

Dibb makes it no secret she is the happiest she’s ever been both on and off field after a move to Townsville to link up with the Cowboys for their inaugural NRLW season.

Riding the same wave of emotions are Dibb's parents Mark and Lynette, while the Cowboys playmaker has found happiness with former Bachelorette contestant and Roosters cheerleader Holly Langford this year, who has been a rock of support.

Dibb went public with her same-sex relationship in April.

"I think it’s seen on field with some of the consistency I’ve had in the last couple of years but now that I’ve got that environment up at the Cowboys and the supportive family and partner around me," Dibb said.

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A post shared by Kirra Dibb (@kirradibb)

"When you put your heart into something and you don’t achieve the goal you set it’s obviously disappointing but they’re there, feeling it with me and support me regardless.

"It’s definitely the happiest I’ve been and footy is part of that with how comfortable it’s been.

"My sexuality is not something I’ve ever hidden. I'm bisexual and love who I love. The good thing about women’s sport in general is it’s a very inclusive place for everyone. 

We’re lucky in the NRLW that no one really bats an eye lid with who you are and who you’re with.

Cowboys star Kirra Dibb

Although the Cowboys have struggled in their maiden campaign, the environment the 26-year-old has been able to help create from the start has been most important.

Previously Dibb has walked into established NRLW club with a culture already built, including at the Knights during the rescheduled 2021 season when she picked up a contract only days before the competition started.

“I think the Cowboys really thought of as many things as they could before our team even got there and it’s honestly the best environment I’ve ever been in,” Dibb said.

“I was fortunate to have already had girls who I have played with or knew well but with so many girls relocating everyone had to go there with an open mind.

“That environment suits me because I was able to help create a space that would help make everyone feel accepted.

“They could flourish and ask questions and become a better player than when they arrived. That’s the type of environment I’ve been hoping to be part of for my whole career.

"BJ’s an incredible coach and the big reason why I signed with the Cowboys. The way he can see a game and the passion he has for the women’s game, especially in North Queensland and the Indigenous program, I think he’s really thriving.

"We could’ve won a couple of games for him because what I think he’s been doing preparation wise is perfect. He’s a really good bloke who can help us start fresh each week and forget about the past. That's important for a new team."

The introduction of the new clubs has rejuvenated some debate on whether team name changes are required given the Cowboys, Raiders, Roosters and Knights all represent males as mascots. 

"We would prefer to be called the Cowboys," Dibb said. 

"Our girls are very strong on that. We love the fans for thinking that’s not what we might want but we want to play for the Cowboys as a brand, company and team we grew up watching.

"The Roosters have never been asked if they want to be called the Hens or anything like that. We’re the Cowboys women’s team and we’re all very proud of that."

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A post shared by Kirra Dibb (@kirradibb)

After being part of the NRLW for five seasons and recently watching the FIFA World Cup, Dibb said there was no better time to be part of women's sport. 

The success of the Matildas gave the rest of Australia's female athletes hope of one day drawing the same amount of interest in the future.

"The fact there are female athletes on these big stages and grown men are going to pubs and bonding over a Matildas game or an NRLW or AFLW game and there are jerseys everywhere blows my mind," Dibb said.

"We stayed at the same hotel as the Parra boys a few weeks ago and Ryan Matterson was sporting a Matildas jersey at breakfast.

"To see that happening and it’s a social norm now. If you didn’t know what was going on with the 'Tillies then that was frowned upon more.

"The more that our game gets exposure and the more we expand, the more people watch it and the product that we put on I think we can really start to match it in some areas.

"Money has never been the main focus. I do all of this for six-year-old me in my headgear and shoulder pads, and the little kids watching on. They don’t know anything about money at that age. Anything else is just a bonus."

Dibb has one final goal with the Cowboys' finals hopes over in 2023 - get back into the green and gold - and if she were able to the first Pacific Championships match is scheduled at Queensland Country Bank Stadium on October 14.

"I’d love to get back into the Australian jersey with a couple of Test matches at the end of the year," she said.

"There’s a hell of a lot of competition but that will always be a goal for me.

"Brad [Donald] has aways been very good to me. He gave me a Jillaroos jersey in 2019 and coached me at the Warriors. He is very good at picking girls that are absolutely in form and who he thinks is right.

"It’s nice to know that whether you played in Origin or not it doesn’t necessarily affect his selection decisions too much."

Acknowledgement of Country

North Queensland Cowboys respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.