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Billy Jean doing the family name proud for Warriors

Warriors forward Billy Jean Ale could be forgiven for getting tired of questions about the origins of her name.

Instead she smiles and takes it in her stride.

Is she named after one of the King of Pop's greatest songs?

"Everyone thinks I was named after Michael Jackson but it's not," Ale tells

"I'm named after my uncle Bill on my dad's side and grandma Jean. It should be Bill Jean but it's Billy Jean. I guess it was just coincidence to the song.

"One time I was on a double-decker bus and someone started singing the song and I thought, 'OK that's awkward'."

Ale is a full-time mum of three children, all under the age of nine, and is based in South Auckland with her partner, St George Illawarra forward Ngatokotoru Arakua.

The pair will go head to head at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday in a clash that could send the Warriors into the 2019 NRLW grand final, while ending the chances of the Dragons' hopes in the process. 

Warriors v Dragons : NRLW Round 2

"We know how each other plays and we're not shy to play against each other," Ale said.

"Most of the Kiwis in other teams are from the Dragons so it would be a blessing to play them and all their families come to the game and watch.

"We're still a happy family afterwards. My kids put her on a pedestal. It only got more challenging when she left but before we know it the grand final will be over and she'll be home."

Family is at the heart of everything Ale does.

Growing up with a bunch of siblings, she has spent the past 19 years playing rugby league on and off.

Billy Jean Ale proudly displays some of her tattoos.
Billy Jean Ale proudly displays some of her tattoos.

In between juggling children and her relationship, she turned to tattoos.

"I've lost count how many I have," she said.

"I've got some on both my calves, hands and thighs, almost my whole back. Most have meanings - my kids' names, parents' names, siblings. They all represent me in my tattoos.

"Then there's a couple there I've put on for fun. It's like when you eat a potato chip, you keep going back for more. And my dad is covered head to toe.

"He used to take us to a parlour when we were little in the hope it would scare the hell out of us but now we're all covered."

Ale came off the bench for a 20-minute stint in the Warriors' win over the Roosters last week and is eager to build on her maiden game.

Moments That Matter

"I want to bring mongrel and get the girls feeding off that so we can all feel that energy," she said.

"I don't know how it was last year but we've learnt a lot and know what to bring now."

Acknowledgement of Country

The New Zealand Warriors honour the mana of the Indigenous peoples of Aotearoa, Australia and the Pacific. We acknowledge the traditional kaitiaki of the lands, elders past and present, their stories, their traditions, their mamae and their mana motuhake.

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