“The girls dug deep, you saw everyone playing with all their heart out there,” the Broncos skipper said.
Head coach Kelvin Wright agreed that 2020 was a whole new level of play, with the competition getting stronger as the years go on.
“There were a lot more nerves,” he said. “Our team had to really dig deep to bring it out of the bag.”
While acknowledging the Broncos’ achievement, Roosters coach Jamie Feeney expressed his frustrations over the women’s short four-week season, stating the players are not adequately rewarded for the work they put in.
“It’s not even semi-professional, yes they get paid for their time but it’s still like a junior reps type thing … where they fit everything else, their whole lives around their footy,” he said about the NRLW season.
“At this time of the year, they get paid very well for their time, but for the most part of the year, they’re committing their bodies, their minds and their lives to a game they don’t really get rewarded for.”
Roosters skipper Corban McGregor said the short nature of the NRLW season made it difficult to build a campaign strong enough to take away the win.
“It is tough,” she said. “It’s such a short season and such a short preparation…a lot of our gym time, rehab and physio is done in our own time.”
The Sydney side started the match looking more like the Broncos NRL team with their defence shaky in the wet conditions.
It didn’t take long for Brisbane to take advantage of their opponent’s struggles, with Aiken putting a pass right to the chest of Tamika Upton to crash over the line just three minutes in.
After the successful conversion, the Broncos continued to take advantage of the noticeable cracks in the Roosters play with Hall smashing through the left edge like a wrecking ball to bag her side their second try.
Hall seemed eager to remind everyone she was back after her suspension period as she helped push the score out to 12-0.
When it felt as if all hope was lost, the Roosters finally managed to switch on via a successful captain’s challenge.
The Roosters took the little win and turned it into a big one with Yasmin Meakes beating defender Julie Robinson to get their first points of the final. Despite a 73 per cent conversion rate this year, Zehara Temara was unable to find the extras.
Quincy Dodd proved why she has been one of the most talked-about players of 2020, crashing over the top of a number of players and finding the try line just five minutes out from half-time.
This time, Temara found the two points and brought her side back into the game heading to go to the break behind 12-10.
Chelsea Lenarduzzi ensured the Broncos didm’t allow the Roosters to mount a second-half comeback and managed a 34th-minute try with some help from Hall.
Lauren Brown somehow managed to avoid leaving the field for a HIA after a nasty head knock before it was Brigginshaw’s time to shine.
Showing her status as Dally M female player of year, the Maroons skipper set up Tallisha Harden who cruised over the line without a finger on her to finish off the effort.
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Sarah is a journalist for The Sydney Morning Herald.