They have been an immovable force in the NRLW since its establishment, but the Brisbane Broncos are refusing to rest on their laurels ahead of the new season starting on Sunday.
The Broncos have won all three NRLW premierships so far
They have managed to keep most of their stars despite three new teams entering the competition
The NRLW season starts on Sunday, with a triple-header in Newcastle
Brisbane have won the title in each of the NRLW seasons (2018, 2019 and 2020) and will get a chance to join a rare club of sporting teams to win four straight if they can conjure another premiership in 2022.
But any talk of them being the “hunted” once again has been firmly shut down at Red Hill by coach Kelvin Wright.
“It doesn’t really bother us how other people perceive us or anything like that,” Wright said.
“Fifty per cent of our squad is new, so we always have to sort of reset and start again.
“We keep the strong culture that we’ve built, but also we just look [ahead] one game at a time, which starts against the Roosters.”
Regardless, Brisbane enter this season as the competition’s short-priced favourites.
But the NRLW will look slightly different this year, with the Parramatta Eels, Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Titans entering the competition, joining the Broncos, Sydney Roosters and St George Illawarra Dragons.
The 2021 competition, usually held across September and October, was delayed until early 2022 due to COVID-19.
Wright said it had been “a long wait” for the season opener against last year’s runners-up.
“It is a little bit of the unknown because you can do all the training you want, but until they get out on the field, you’re not too sure how everything’s going to go,” he said.
“We’re really confident we’ve prepared them well, but it’s certainly going to be exciting to see them along with all the other teams out there and just to see everyone back playing.”
Julia Robinson has been at the Broncos since the inaugural season and while she looks around the dressing room at new faces this season, there’s some familiar faces there too – in key play-making roles.
“To see how we’ve evolved over the years is amazing,” the winger said.
“But we definitely have some very good key players in our team and great leaders as well, including Ali Brigginshaw.”
“Everyone blossoms around them.”
That line-up now includes 19-year-old Jada Ferguson, from Toowoomba, who joined the club in the off-season after starting out playing touch football, then transitioning into rugby sevens, before moving over to league.
“It’s definitely nerve wracking coming in and joining the team. They’ve all won three premierships, and they’re all good athletes… I am just so happy to be here,” she said.
“I’m just learning so much and excited by the opportunity.”