Kirra Dibb takes an adventurous journey from Newcastle to Townsville

Kirra Dibb (right) celebrates with the NRLW Premiership Trophy after victory in the 2022 NRLW Grand Final. Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Townsville and Newcastle are almost 2000 kilometres apart.

But distance is not a concern for former Newcastle Knight Kirra Dibb, who has made a decision to sign with the North Queensland Cowboys ahead of their inaugural NRLW season joining other players like Emma Manzelmann, Shaniah Power, Tahlulah Tillett, Essay Banu and Fran Goldthorp.

In her own words, Dibb is ready for an adventure.

During the 2022 NRLW season, Dibb made a decision to quit her full time job as an exercise physiologist.

"I know my footy career is limited in terms of the scope of my entire life, so I wanted to give myself the best chance during expansion to take hold of my future," said Dibb.

"I'm a big traveller, so the idea of disappearing for a new adventure in a place I haven't explored appeals to me, let alone throwing in playing good footy and playing a role in growing the women's game.

"It sounds like a big move, but if anything I only have to be gone for four to five months and in that time I can go on a new adventure and play some footy."

Fortunately for Dibb, the Cowboys have helped her secure employment during the season which means she will be able to continue working as an exercise physiologist whilst juggling her footy career and ensuring that she continues to maintain the career path she worked so hard to earn.

Dibb is one of many players who have made the decision to change teams ahead of the 2023 season. For Dibb, this movement is natural.

"The expansion is so important for the future of the game so if players don't move to the new teams, then the game will crumble a little bit because some teams will be smashed compared to others," said Dibb.

"I know some fans will be sad and that's because they have become so invested in the women's game and we love and appreciate so much, but sometimes our decisions are based on our personal needs or helping the game itself.

"I want the fans to stay positive, because they will make connections with new players, whilst for the players themselves there are new opportunities to sign multi-year contracts and finally have some permanence."

As a new team, the Cowboys will no doubt benefit from Dibb's experience at a club and State of Origin level.

When a club introduces a new team, no matter how diligent they are, there will be challenges and opportunities that present themselves during the season and Dibb is confident her experience at the Knights will help the Cowboys.

"If you look at the Knights second season compared to our first, there was improvement and part of the reason for that was that in our first year we lay a good platform for the next group of women to come in and stand on," said Dibb.

"Something that I have learnt is the importance of relationships within the team and making sure you set the tone early and get everyone on the same page.

"It's important that everyone knows that they can chip in their views so that as a team we can have those honest conversations early and build together, rather than trying to build individually."

Just like Newcastle, Townsville is place where the footy team is embraced and this is something else Dibb is looking forward to.

"I love building connections with fans and seeing them get around us," said Dibb.

"We could really see it at Newcastle; their fan base is so strong and we would always get a good turnout for games.

"I can only imagine it being bigger up in Townsville and I am really excited to help bring the opportunity to have a women's team to North Queensland for them to support and it will be really special for women like Emma, who come from up there, to be part of it too."

As the season progresses, I would encourage all rugby league fans to keep an eye on the Cowboys social media, because as a keen and spontaneous traveller, Dibb is ready to embrace all aspects of the North Queensland lifestyle.

"Who knows what I'll get up to," Dibb says.

"I'm a very spontaneous traveller so I can imagine waking up and someone telling me that something exciting is happening and I'll do it

"I've done some cool stuff travelling and I've heard that in North Queensland there are great hikes, water holes and lookouts; I'll even feed a crocodile, I'll do everything."