The Brisbane Broncos have officially kicked-off their 2019 NRLW campaign with a gala season launch in Brisbane’s CBD this evening.
More than 150 guests including Minister for Sport Mick De Brenni, Minister for Innovation and Tourism Kate Jones and Minister For Employment and Training Shannon Fentiman were on hand to help mark the club’s second year in the NRLW competition.
The Broncos produced an undefeated season to claim last year’s historic inaugural NRLW title, and this year’s 22-player squad features a fresh injection of top-class representative talent joining the bulk of the established title-winning team that has been re-signed.
Premiership stars Ali Brigginshaw, Chelsea Baker, Meg Ward, Julia Robinson, Heather Ballinger, Steph Hancock, Amber Pilley, Rona Peters, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Lavinia Gould and Mariah Storch have all returned to defend the title.
They have been joined by Australian Jillaroo forwards Annette Brander and Tazmin Gray, rising New South Wales State of Origin-winning prop Millie Boyle, as well as Olympic rugby sevens gold medallist Amy Turner as the club’s biggest new signings for 2019.
The Broncos also have a new head coach in former New Zealand Ferns mentor Kelvin Wright, joined by former NRL greats Corey Parker and Simon Mannering as his assistants, with the pair boasting almost 650 NRL games between.
2019 will also see the The Broncos Club welcomed as the NRLW team’s inaugural principal sponsor, along with the support of other sponsors Arrow Energy, Deadly Choices, National Storage, Oil Search, ISC, The University of Queensland, Splatt Lawyers, XXXX and Coca Cola.
Broncos NRLW CEO Tain Drinkwater thanked the generosity of the team’s partners in supporting a 2019 squad that had the perfect blend of experience, athleticism and excitement.
“Over the last 12 months we have achieved so much in growing the game of rugby league for young women,” Drinkwater told the launch.
“We now need to focus our efforts on delivering a great product to our fans, continuing to grow the competition and building a pathway to allow young women to participate in this great game.
“The players that you meet today are all women who are champions for change and excellent role models to help young women reach their full potential.
“I am excited to have Kelvin, Corey and Simon join us as part of a world class coaching team – we have a hard road ahead of us to defend our premiership title, but we are all up for the challenge.
“Our 2019 journey must be focused on working hard, dedicating our efforts, and coming together as a united and committed group so we are successful both on and off the field.
“I am excited to see what 2019 brings us, and look forward to bringing home the trophy again in 2019!”
The Broncos begin their preseason training this week and will build towards their NRLW premiership defence which begins in mid-September in line with the NRL finals.
An NRLW trial game between the Broncos and Papua New Guinea Oil Search Orchids will be played in Port Moresby on Saturday, August 31.
In what will be a bumper double-header of rugby league, the NRLW trial will be supported by a game between a Brisbane Broncos Legends team and the Papua New Guinea Kumuls Legends at Oil Search National Football Stadium.
The Legends game will also prove a hit with PNG locals with confirmed starters including Petero Civoniceva, Terry Matterson, Julian O’Neill, Scott Prince, Kevin Campion and David Stagg.
Australia’s Office of the Pacific is partnering with the Brisbane Broncos to put on both games, funded through the Australia-Pacific Sports Linkages Program.
The partnership will also support a number of off-field activities in Port Moresby across the weekend, including skills clinics and community outreach, and a welcome reception for the four teams hosted by the Australian High Commission.
Broncos 2019 NRLW Squad
Rosemary Vaimili Toalepai