Broncos charge towards NRLW grand final
THE Brisbane Broncos have all but booked their place in the inaugural NRLW grand final after another impressive win over the Roosters in Sydney.
Brisbane bolted out of the gates in last week's opening round of the women's premiership, taking the mantle of the competition favourites.
They faced a tough challenge to maintain that status against a stacked Roosters side on Friday night, but only stamped their authority as premiership contenders with the hard-fought 14-4 victory.
While their performance was not as commanding as their debut game against the Dragons, it showed more grit and was enough to put them in the frame for the grand final at ANZ Stadium in Sydney on September 30.
Their fate could be decided on Saturday when the Warriors chase their second win against the Dragons.
If the New Zealand side come away with the victory, they will face Brisbane in the premiership decider.
The Broncos were led strongly by fullback Chelsea Baker and captain Ali Brigginshaw, while veteran forward Steph Hancock played a massive role in turning the momentum for Brisbane midway through the first half when the scores were locked at nil-all.
Coach Paul Dyer said he could not have been prouder of his team and the way they fought for the win but was still not counting them as grand final certainties.
"We have a lot of hard work over the next couple of weeks and we hope that's enough to put us in the grand final," he said.
"Once we get there, it's anyone's game. We're certainly not getting ahead of ourselves.
"There were some really good performances out there … I couldn't have been prouder of some of those girls and the way they worked their butts off for each other."
Brisbane have one last regular round game against the Warriors in Melbourne next week.
They appeared to come through the clash unscathed, but there was some concern for centre Meg Ward who suffered a wrist injury and was caught in a crusher tackle from Isabelle Kelly late in the second half.
However the young Queenslander continued to play on.
If Brisbane lock in a grand final spot after today's results, Dyer said he will look at resting a few key players next week.
"We just have a couple little knocks and bruises and we just want to make Meg pulls up okay in the next 24 hours," he said.
"I don't think there's anything too serious. We've got some quality players that haven't had a run in this competition yet so I'm excited to potentially give them a chance to play there in Melbourne."
Ward was Brisbane's sole tryscorer in the second half, while her opposition number Kelly claimed the only four-pointer for the Roosters.
The Roosters came out firing in the first 20 minutes and had two tries denied in that time to Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki, with Baker pulling off a spectacular trysaving tackle on Foliaki.
The Broncos however seemed to struggle against the Roosters' momentum and appeared to panic, making a number of errors midway through the first half.
But skipper Brigginshaw stepped up when her side needed it the most, dancing her way through Sydney's defence to put the first points on the board.
Teuila Fotu-Moala extended Brisbane's lead with a barnstorming run just before halftime.
BRONCOS 14 (Ali Brigginshaw, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Meg Ward tries; Chelsea Baker 1 goal) def ROOSTERS 4 (Isabelle Kelly try) at Allianz Stadium