Tensions simmer as NRLW title goes on the line

Brisbane hold the trophy but captain Ali Brigginshaw has put the heat on St George Illawarra for the NRLW grand final by declaring it's the Dragons' competition to lose on Sunday.  

Brigginshaw joined teammates Annette Brander, Millie Boyle and coach Kelvin Wright in a tense media conference with the Dragons in Sydney and fired up when discussing her side's chances of clinching back-to-back titles.

The Dragons were heavily talked up leading into the second NRLW season with five former Broncos premiership-winning players moving to Wollongong.

Brigginshaw said she'd felt like the Broncos hadn't been as targeted for being champions this year with the Dragons taking the pre-season limelight.

"The talk was about the Dragons and who they signed so that took the pressure off to start, I thought," Brigginshaw said.

"Yes, we're defending premiers but it's a new year and we've got new players. It's about the team that comes together and who shows up on Sunday. If we don't show up we'll cop the loss but if we show up we'll get the win.

"I think the Dragons have done that in the last two games and you can see that with their two wins.

Asked if the Dragons were the favourites for the decider, Brigginshaw quipped: "Yeah, definitely."

Sitting less than five metres from Brigginshaw was Dragons skipper Kezie Apps, who was quick to return serve and claim they had the underdogs tag leading into the clash.

"That's just outside noise really," Apps said of being favourites.

"They're the champions from last year and want it again. It's all new for us at the Dragons.

"It's a pretty chilled week and we're all trying to take it in and stay relaxed as possible."

The Broncos will field 10 players who represented Queensland in Origin this year, while the Dragons have eight NSW representatives – giving the clash an additional feel of interstate rivalry.

Brigginshaw, who captained the Maroons in the June clash, said the occasion acted as extra motivation after suffering defeat at North Sydney Oval.

"100 percent, and I still feel that loss from NSW," Brigginshaw said.

"If we say that there's a big rivalry between the Dragons and Broncos then that Queensland-NSW feel is there.

"Kezie is the captain of NSW. I want that win more than anything."

Apps played down the Origin comparison and likening the build-up to an interstate vibe.

"It's sort of completely different," Apps said.

"For Origin you have a week to prepare with one game and then it's all over. For the NRLW we've had four weeks prior to prepare with three games and then a fourth if we're lucky."

Brisbane defeated the Dragons 14-4 in their only clash this year at Bankwest Stadium in round one.