The Brisbane Broncos finished top of the ladder at the end of the 2021 NRLW regular season and were hoping to win a fourth successive Grand Final; however, they fell short to the Sydney Roosters in the semi-finals.
With the record streak of three consecutive Grand Final wins over and expectations to return to that glory this season, they will be hoping to build on their fourth-successive Minor Premiership and make the Grand Final once again.
The Broncos started last season with a grand final rematch against the Sydney Roosters, which they took out 20-4. They continued their winning ways until they narrowly went down to the Gold Coast Titans away in Round Four with a score of 28-26.
However, a massive 34-point victory over the Parramatta Eels in the final round ensured they won the minor premiership on point difference over the St. George Illawarra Dragons.
Despite finishing top of the ladder, the Broncos fell in the semi-finals in a shock loss to the Roosters, who came from 16-nil down to claim a 22-16 victory and make the Grand Final.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Broncos had a lot to smile about. Broncos’ Prop, Millie Boyle, was named the Dally M Medal for Player of the Year. Furthermore, four Broncos were named in the Rugby League Players Association’s (RLPA) Team of the Year; Shenae Ciesiolka, Lauren Brown, Boyle, and Amber Hall.
10 Broncos represented their state in State of Origin earlier this year, nine for Queensland and one for New South Wales, with Millie Boyle making her third appearance for the Blues.
The Broncos who represented Queensland were Tamika Upton, Emily Bass, Ciesiolka, Julia Robinson, Tarryn Aiken, Ali Brigginshaw, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Tallisha Harden and Brown. Brigginshaw captained the Maroons, while Bass made her Queensland debut.
Ins: Jaime Chapman (St. George Illawarra Dragons), Brianna Clark (New Zealand Warriors), Jasmine Fogavini (Souths Logan), Sophie Holyman (Queensland Reds), Hannah Larsson (Wests Mitchelton), Nita Maynard (Parramatta Eels), Annetta Nu’uausala (New Zealand Warriors), Paige Parker (Newcastle Knights), Crystal Tamarua (Gold Coast Titans), Shakiah Tungai (St. George Illawarra Dragons)
Outs: Millie Boyle (Newcastle Knights), Lauren Brown (Gold Coast Titans), Hagiga Mosby (Gold Coast Titans), Roxy Murdoch (Gold Coast Titans), Tamika Upton (Newcastle Knights), Nakita Sao (injured)
Crystal Tamarua, who joins the Broncos from the Titans, will be hoping to impress at her new club after an ankle injury ruled her out of the entire 2021 season.
Sophie Holyman and Jasmine Fogavini will make their NRLW debuts this season. Holyman will be making her rugby league debut, after playing for the Queensland Reds and playing Sevens Rugby.
Emerging talent, Jaime Chapman will be filling in the void left at fullback by Tamika Upton, after playing in the centres for the Dragons last season. Another recruit looking to fill in a gap is Nita Maynard who will play hooker after the departure of Dally M medal winner, Lauren Brown.
What to expect
The expectations for the Broncos this season will be to achieve the same heights as their first three seasons. They will be hoping to build upon last season’s minor premiership and finish top of the ladder again.
However, the Broncos will be hoping they can push through in the finals this time around.
Last season, the Broncos scored more tries and goals than any other team, with 28 and 19, respectively. Additionally, they controlled games, with the highest average possession in the competition last season at 57 per cent. The St. George Illawarra Dragons followed with 52 per cent.
With this control of the game, they also completed their sets, their completion rate also the highest amongst all the teams last season, at 80 per cent. The Dragons followed behind them with a 74 per cent completion rate.
Furthermore, they had the equal-most line breaks, along with the Sydney Roosters, with 35.
Given they topped the competition in all these stats, it showcases how much they dominated last season to finish first.
However, with the loss of their goal kicker in Brown and top try scorer from last season in Mosby, they will have to develop new combinations to fit their system if they want to make a impact again this season.
With a host of players leaving and new players coming in, they will be hoping to build on not only those stats, but also their style of play, so they can make a charge up the ladder and into the finals again this season.
Particularly, they will be looking to see how their young players and debutants perform and settle in among the rest of the squad.
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It’s a big year for
It is a big year for Chapman, who will be filling the void left at fullback.
The emerging star will have to adapt and excel in her new role at the Broncos, playing at fullback, after starring for the Dragons in the centres last season.
Therefore, the 20-year-old will be hoping to display her talents in this new role for the most successful team in the NRLW, she will be one to watch this season, to see her progress and development in a new role at a new club.
Round 1 Team
1. Jaime Chapman
2. Julia Robinson
3. Amy Turner
4. Shenae Ciesiolka
5. Emily Bass
6. Tarryn Aiken
7. Ali Brigginshaw
8. Sophie Holyman
9. Nita Maynard
10. Chelsea Lenarduzzi
11. Sara Sautia
12. Amber Hall
13. Tallisha Harden
14. Jada Ferguson
15. Kaitlyn Phillips
16. Crystal Tamarua
17. Jasmine Fogavini
Despite the Broncos losing some star players, their recruitment, talent, experience and their desire to return to the top should see them charge towards the top of the ladder once again and make a charge in the NRLW finals.
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