Broncos hooker Brittany Breayley is the hot favourite to win the Dally M female player of the year and says modelling her game on Maroons legend Cameron Smith had been a key to her development.
The 27-year-old Jillaroos rake is a finalist at Wednesday night’s Dally M awards along with Taleena Simon (Roosters), Jess Sergis (Dragons) and Krystal Rota (Warriors).
Breayley has played a key role in all three of Brisbane’s Holden Women’s Premiership wins with three line breaks, three line break assists and 183 running metres an indication of her impact in attack.
She is also one of the competition’s toughest defenders with 93 tackles in three matches.
It is Breayley’s inch-perfect passes, game smarts and composure that makes her the Cameron Smith of the women’s game, and that is not by chance.
"I like to model my game off Cam Smith. He is a legend of the game and the way he controls his team around the paddock is how I like to play my game," Breayley said.
"Where I can I do watch a lot of videos of his game and try and perfect my game as he would.
"I am the first one that touches the ball so if I am not controlling of my own game it could lead the team to spiral, so my approach is to be a calming influence on the team and to do my job well."
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She has also analysed the running games of leading NRL hookers Issac Luke and Damien Cook and drawn a lot from their play.
Breayley, who will line up for Brisbane in the NRLW grand final against the Sydney Roosters at ANZ Stadium on Sunday, plays club football for Ipswich Brothers alongside Broncos halfback Ali Brigginshaw and the duo have also forged a powerful combination for Queensland and Australia.
Brigginshaw said Breayley was a calming influence, and vice versa.
"We really play well together and we stay calm around each other. If she was stressed I think it would rub off on me. We have this really good bond," Brigginshaw told NRL.com
"She doesn’t look like she is raising a sweat out there but we are actually working hard. We have trained so hard to get where we are and every time we train we push each other."
Breayley said it was an honour to be nominated as a finalist for the Dally M awards for the third year in a row and that she intended to enjoy the build-up to Sunday’s decider.
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The Broncos have an empty plinth in their headquarters they were hoping the men’s side could fill with a seventh premiership this year. Breayley and her teammates have their sights on making their own contribution to filling the vacancy.
"To be able to fill that spot would be really amazing but this week is about focusing on our roles and earning the right to get that trophy," Breayley said.
"We always knew that the Roosters were going to be out there as favourites. They have a star-studded line-up and we have never underestimated them."
Breayley said shutting down the left edge attacking duo of Isabelle Kelly and Simon, along with nullifying the impact of half Zahara Temara , would be crucial to Brisbane’s chances.
As for captain Brigginshaw, she’s just glad Breayley is in the middle as the Broncos’ rock of Gibraltar.
"Britanny makes a lot of tackles around the middle and she is in everything," Brigginshaw said.
"You can see in some other teams that they don’t have that gel in the middle but Brittany really keeps it together there for us."
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