Prossie woman takes out prestigious police league award
QUEENSLAND Police Service Women's Rugby League (QPSWRL) announced last week the first recipient of the new Steph Hancock Shield - Proserpine-born Shannon Piccinelli who won the 2019 QLD Representative Players' Player award.
Ms Piccinelli hasn't been presented with the shield yet, but after she does it will be displayed at Police Headquarters in Brisbane.
Ms Piccinelli, who attended Proserpine State High School, is currently based at the Upper Mt Gravatt police station in Brisbane after working last year at Booval, Ipswich - she moved to Brisbane in 2017.
She joined her first league team, the Whitsunday Brahmans, when she was 16 and played with the side "on and off" for a few years.
"I play union as well for the police team, and I love both of them a lot.
"Growing up my dad and my family were into their league and I always watched it and had family playing it."
Ms Piccinelli, whose twin sister Lea has also grown up playing league, said rugby was "my kind of sport".
"I like being surrounded by other team members. It's such a big team sport and you rely on each other.
"Going into the police has been quite similar because you're working with your teammates constantly.
"And I've made so many mates through sport, especially team sports."
Ms Piccinelli was chosen for the Queensland QPS team last March after playing with Country Thunder - a team of regional players from areas including Townsville, Cairns and Ipswich - against the City Cyclones team of metro players.
As part of the state team she then played with Australian international rugby league player - and namesake of the new award - Steph Hancock - against representative team the Sunshine Coast Falcons in a 'country to coast' carnival.
She's now preparing to take part in this year's Rumble in the Tropics carnival in Townsville on May 5, but this time as part of the City Cyclones team as she's working in Brisbane.
On announcing Ms Piccinelli as the winner of the Steph Hancock Shield last week, QPSWRL said on social media she had been chosen because of "her willingness to put her body on the line for the greater good, and her natural skill and athleticism".
"A players' player is someone who is voted by their teammates as the best on-field in any given game or season.
"However, we believe being players' player is also about being able to lift those around you, demonstrating good sportsmanship, being a positive influence, and leaving nothing in the tank for the good of the team."
Ms Piccinelli said women's rugby league was great for fitness as well as positive mental health.
"In this day and age there's the whole stigma around mental health, and being surrounded by team sport does help with keeping your mind active.
"I'd recommend playing footy over video games."
She said that in her work as a police officer she took part in organised sport activities with youth and advocated for the benefits of continuing sport to stay healthy and maintain a positive mindset.
"It's about getting out there and making friends. Being involved in any type of sport means you'll be exposed to learning new things and making new friends."
Anyone interested in sponsoring the Queensland Police Women's Rugby League team can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.