Jada Ferguson will have family on the field and in the stands when she leads Norths Devils into Saturday’s historic BMD Premiership opener at Bishop Park.
Ferguson will line up with first cousin Shenae Ciesiolka in the Devils’ backline and the pair will have plenty of support from family members who will travel from Toowoomba for the clash with Burleigh Bears.
Ferguson and Ciesiolka have been driving from their Toowoomba homes throughout the summer to train with the Devils ahead of the club’s first season in the statewide women’s competition.
They also travelled to a State of Origin squad camp last month with Devils teammates Ali Brigginshaw, Fiona Jahnke and Hannah Larsson.
The recognition has come quickly for Ferguson, who will captain the Devils one year after she played for Queensland’s Under 19 team.
Coach Zac Wallwork appointed Ferguson, now 20, to lead the Devils and club history underpins that move.
Cameron Smith was 18 when he captained the Devils’ first grade team at the start of his remarkable career.
Ferguson is grateful for the opportunity to lead the Devils in the club’s 90th anniversary season.
“I’m really excited for the chance and I’m looking forward to it,” Ferguson said.
“We want to play good footy as a team. We have high expectations for ourselves but it’s our first year playing together.
“We’ve developed a good team culture and, if you like spending time together off the field, then you’re in a good position to play well on the field.”
Ferguson has been named in the No.7 jersey for the opener with Brigginshaw at lock and Ciesiolka at fullback.
The trio played together for the Broncos NRLW team last year in another key step in Ferguson’s development.
After switching to touch football and rugby sevens following a successful schoolgirl rugby league career, Ferguson returned to the game in 2021.
She had watched Ciesiolka and her 2023 Devils teammates Brigginshaw and Annette Brander win an NRLW premiership with the Broncos in 2020 and wanted to try her hand.
Ferguson began with Tweed Seagulls before finding her way into the Broncos squad and eventually into the inaugural Devils team.
The chance to play alongside Ciesiolka – their mothers are sisters – has been a bonus in Ferguson’s career.
“Our families are very close so it’s a lot of fun,” Ferguson said.
“We’ve spent a lot of time together over the years and then we’ve been able to play at the Broncos together and now Norths.”
Ferguson is studying exercise physiology at university while she juggles her growing league commitments.