Breayley and Baker spark Broncos' demolition of Dragons
A masterclass by hooker Brittany Breayley and an 18-point haul to fullback Chelsea Baker inspired the Broncos to a comprehensive 30-4 win over the Dragons in their Holden Women's Premiership opener at Suncorp Stadium.
The Broncos' speed, power and game smarts across the park was a highlight with Breayley controlling play at dummy-half where her passing game and decision-making was a highlight.
The workhorse Brisbane rake also made 33 tackles in a performance which enhanced her reputation as one of the world's leading players.
Speedy fullback Baker tormented the Dragons defence with her speed and evasion to grab two tries. She added five goals to take her tally to 18 points.
The guile of Breayley came to the fore in the fourth minute as she held the ball out in one hand like Benny Elias in his pomp before hitting a flyingBaker at speed.
Baker ran the perfect line to score the Broncos' first try in the NRLW.
Match: Broncos v Dragons
Round 1 -
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
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The Dragons hit back within minutes when fullback and captain Sam Bremner made the most of indecision in the Broncos defensive line to score from close range.
The first half developed into an arm wrestle until St George Illawarra lost classy playmaker Raecene McGregor to a shoulder injury seven minutes before the break.
\The Broncos scored soon afterwards with the creative combination of Breayley and halves Kimiora Nati and Ali Brigginshaw at their best. Brigginshaw hit strong running back-rower Maitua Feterika with a short ball as she powered over to score.
There were many powerful collisions in the middke of the park but one of the most intense was when Dragons centre Jessica Sergis put her body on the line with a front-on tackle on Broncos winger Julia Robinson.
The contact rocked the stadium and a brave Sergis, unfazed, left the field for a HIA.
The Broncos turned the screws just before the break with brilliant backline play. Baker handled in the movement and then backed up winger Meg Ward to score. Baker landed a penalty as the siren sounded to give Brisbane an 18-4 lead at half-time.
After the break Breayley was quick to get into dummy half and throw an inch-perfect pass for a charging Ngatokotoru Arakua to score under the sticks.
Arakua ran for a mammoth 149m from 12 runs to lay the platform through the middle of the park.
Dragons star second-rower Kezzie Apps was not deterred by the scoreline and continued her powerhouse defensive hits in the second stanza with maximum impact.
A show-and-go by Brigginshaw took the lead out to 30-4 lead as the Broncos sent an ominous warning to the rest of the NRLW ladder in front of a crowd of 18,853.
Brigginshaw said her side savoured the historic occasion from the moment they warnmd up.
"It was huge today and we really felt the vibe when we were warming up as a team, just the look in everyone's eyes," she said.
"We have all dreamt of this. Running out and seeing little girls idolising you is just the best feeling in the world."
As for Breayley's display, coach Paul Dyer said was "not the Australian number nine for nothing".
"She's a tough character and very uncompromising with the way she trains and prepares and I think you see glimpses of that all the time in her football," he said.
"She is a wonderful player but an even better leader for the group off the field."
Dragons captain Bremner said the side had plenty of improvement left for the rest of the competition.
"It was a large margin in the scoreline but I take a lot of confidence out of it," she said.
"That was literally the first time we have all ever played together and quite literally the first time that some of the young girls have ever played representative football.
"I think we will give it a good crack next game."