Drenching rain and a determined opposition couldn’t stop the Brisbane Broncos notching up their third straight NRLW grand final win, defeating the Sydney Roosters 20-10.
With Private Julia Robinson playing centre and Leading Aircraftwoman Meg Ward on the wing, Brisbane comfortably beat the Roosters in a match-up the week before, but constant rain at Sydney Olympic Park on October 25 added an unknown factor.
“At training we’d soaked the balls in a bucket with soap and water to practise with the slippery ball,” Leading Aircraftwoman Ward said.
“We played the same style but shortened the passes and played a little bit more direct into their line.”
Brisbane dominated from the outset, opening with tries in the fifth and eighth minutes.
“We knew we had to make sure we were doing our job but able to enjoy each moment and not underestimate the Roosters, because they could come fighting back,” Private Robinson said.
And fight back the Roosters did, running in two tries before half time.
“I don’t think we got complacent they just took opportunities when they had them. We could’ve made it easier for ourselves,” Leading Aircraftwoman Ward.
Private Robinson also clocked up 158m of sprinting before the half-time siren.
“I kind of felt like I didn’t do anything all game because I was pretty nervous; then I saw my stats and thought ‘I must’ve done something’,” she said.
I heard the whistle but didn’t know who won. Then the assistant coach came running in saying ‘we’ve done it’.
“I never think I’ve done too much until we watch a video of the game.”
Brisbane narrowly led 12-10 at half-time, but the Broncos had been forced to defend heavily inside their own 20m.
“They should’ve finished us, but we knew defence would win us the game,” Leading Aircraftwoman Ward said.
The Broncos scored five minutes in to the second half and went over again 10 minutes later, but Leading Aircraftwoman Ward wasn’t eyeing the premiership trophy just yet.
“They kept having a couple of cracks at our line. At 10 in front it only takes one try and they’re back in it,” she said.
Then, with four minutes to go, Leading Aircraftwoman Ward was sent for a concussion test.
“I didn’t know what was happening out on the field. I was anxious they were going to get a double,” she said.
“I heard the whistle but didn’t know who won. Then the assistant coach came running in saying ‘we’ve done it’.”
Private Julia Robinson was selected for the Queensland State of Origin team and Leading Aircraftwoman Ward finished the season as NRLW’s top point-scorer with a 13 from 16 goal-kicking rate, earning her the nickname “Super Boot”.
“I wasn’t tracking my stats,” Leading Aircraftwoman Ward said.
“The first time I found out about it was when my dad said ‘you know how many points you’ve scored? It’s 48; all you had to do was kick one of the two goals and you would’ve had 50’.
“He’s my biggest fan. He’s the big reason why I got into goal-kicking. I’d practise with him each time I had a day off."