The Brisbane Broncos have started their premiership defence with a strong 14-4 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons at Bankwest Stadium in warm conditions.
This game was billed as a grudge match with the Dragons signing five of the Broncos' premiership-winning players from last season, but despite this, Brisbane still had seven members of their winning squad. The premiers opened the scoring after 12 minutes when Amber Paris-Hall was able to get the ball down from close range after being denied just two plays earlier.
The Red V were then able to bring the scores back level just five minutes when former Bronco Kimiora Nati put a kick in behind the line and the chasing Shakiah Tungai was able to put on the speed and get to the ball first. Tungai couldn't convert the try and the scoreline remained 4-4.
St George Illawarra started to gain some momentum but they couldn't handle the ball and the scores remained unchanged at the break. The second half was more in favour of the Broncos, though early on it was the Dragons who got a string of penalties that helped them upfield but they couldn't make the pressure count.
Eventually, Brisbane were able to use their experience and forward strength to take advantage and they crossed in the 39th minute - being able to keep the ball alive and use the extra numbers out wide to let Meg Ward score. Chelsea Baker couldn't convert and the Broncos lead 8-4.
The Dragons were going backwards before Kezie Apps was able to run 50m upfield and get some momentum for the Dragons. The set ended with the Dragons claiming a try to Tungai however, the try was eventually disallowed by the Bunker, who ruled that she had knocked the ball on in the lead up to the try.
The reigning champs were then able to rub salt into the Dragons' wounds three minutes later when they were able to cross from close range - Rona Peters using her strength to get over from dummy half under the posts and after the conversion, they led 14-4.
From there, the Red V weren't able to put much pressure on the Broncos defence with some poor handling in attack, and a final minute potential try to Jess Sergis was knocked back by the Bunker for a knock on.
Next week head across the Tasman to play the Warriors on Sunday afternoon in the NRLW's first standalone match, whilst the Broncos play the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park on Saturday.