A potential rivalry in the making looms in round one of the Holden Women's Premiership with defending premiers Brisbane facing the Dragons at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday. 

The clash is part of a double-header with the blockbuster Eels-Broncos NRL clash, giving Broncos' fans travelling to Parramatta a great excuse to get to the ground early. 

The Broncos secured a 14-0 trial win over the PNG Orchids in Port Moresby as preparation in August and got the result against the Dragons 30-4 in the corresponding game last year. 

St George Illawarra finished fourth in 2018 with a lone victory against the Warriors but big things are expected with a host of new recruits at their disposal. 

Match: Dragons v Broncos

Round 1 -

Full Time
Dragons

Home Team

Dragons

Scored 4 points
Broncos

Away Team

Broncos

Scored 14 points

Venue: Bankwest Stadium, Sydney

Match broadcasters:

  • Foxtel
  • GEM

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: St George Illawarra are 1-17, with a new-look spine and five players to make their NRLW debut. Rising Indigenous All Stars forward Shaylee Bent wins a back row spot alongside Kezie Apps, pushing Teuila Fotu-Moala to start at prop. Kimiora Nati partners Maddie Studdon in the halves.

Broncos: Brisbane are also 1-17. Six players are in line for their NRLW debut, while new recruits Annette Brander and Tazmin Gray will start in the back row. Veteran forward Heather Ballinger has missed the cut. Chelsea Lenarduzzi (ankle) and Julia Robinson (leg) continue their way back from injury. Lavinia Gould replaces Dragons-bound hooker Brittany Breayley in the vacant No.9 jersey.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Botille Vette-Welsh
    Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Chelsea Baker
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Stephanie Mooka
    Winger for Broncos is number 2 Tamika Upton
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jessica Sergis
    Centre for Broncos is number 3 Amy Turner
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Tiana Penitani
    Centre for Broncos is number 4 Amber Pilley
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Shakiah Tungai
    Winger for Broncos is number 5 Meg Ward
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Kimiora Nati
    Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Raecene McGregor
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Maddie Studdon
    Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Ali Brigginshaw

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Teuila Fotu-Moala
    Prop for Broncos is number 8 Millie Boyle
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Brittany Breayley
    Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Lavinia Gould
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Maitua Feterika
    Prop for Broncos is number 10 Amber Hall
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Kezie Apps
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Annette Brander
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Shaylee Bent
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Tazmin Gray
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Holli Wheeler
    Lock for Broncos is number 13 Rona Peters

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Keeley Davis
    Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Tarryn Aiken
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Takilele Katoa
    Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Steph Hancock
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Maddison Weatherall
    Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Mariah Storch
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Ngatokotoru Arakua
    Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Jessika Elliston

Reserves

  • Reserve for Dragons is number 18 Najvada George
  • Reserve for Dragons is number 19 Rikeya Horne
  • Reserve for Dragons is number 20 Lexi Kiriwi
  • Reserve for Dragons is number 21 Sarah Togatuki

Key match-up

Origin rivals Maddie Studdon and Ali Brigginshaw will clash for the second time this season after Studdon got the upper hand in the representative clash at North Sydney Oval. Studdon endured a difficult campaign at the Roosters last year but has found a new lease of life this season and her move to the Dragons gives her another fresh opportunity to play well. Both players' kicking games will be vital to the result.

For the Dragons to win

Their big guns will need to fire against a more stable Broncos forward pack that has experience on their side regardless of the personnel lost. The Dragons haven't played a trial game compared to the Broncos so will need to sort their combinations out early across the park. The strike power is certainly there, but cohesion will be the key.

For the Broncos to win

The defending champions can win by sticking to the basics that helped them dominate last year. There is a big hole left by more than six starting players from last year who have departed but the bonus is the players coming in – like Annette Brander and Tazmin Gray – are experienced enough and have played alongside a core group of the players before at state and international level. 

Stat Attack

Remarkably, both sides averaged some similar numbers in basic areas like runs and metres for 2018 but the Dragons lacked in a couple of noticeable departments that outlined the difference between them. The Broncos created more in attack with 3.5 extra line engaged runs per game and a further 4.5 line breaks per outing.

And another thing ...

In case you missed it, the Dragons will feature five former Broncos players who won a premiership with the club last season. Expect a bit of spice in this contest with a lot of people left surprised by their departures from Red Hill. 

Tarsha Gale's prediction

I think the Dragons will start the season strongly by defeating last year's premiers.They have an unstoppable forward pack that boasts the likes of Kezie Apps, Holli Wheeler and Maitua Feterika. With the forwards going forward I'm expecting the classy backline of Maddie Studdon, Shakiah Tungai and Jess Sergis to have plenty of opportunity to show the crowd exactly why they are superstars of our game. NRLW debutante Tiana Penitani will also show that she knows the way to the try line. The Broncos won’t give up without a fight but will miss some of the strength they had in the forwards last year. Dragons by 8