Broncos coach Wright lauds side's grittiness in NRLW win

Broncos NRLW coach Kelvin Wright commended the composure of halves Ali Brigginshaw and Raecene McGregor in guiding the reigning premiers to a season-opening victory over the Dragons.

Up against a more-fancied St George Illawarra outfit boasting five premiership-winning former Brisbane players, the Broncos used a slew of debutants at Bankwest Stadium in a 14-4 result.

New mentor Wright admitted he wasn't exactly sure what to expect first-up from the new-look Broncos but loved their watertight defence to begin the 2019 campaign.

"There's a little bit of the unknown going into that round one clash. I just thought it was a great grind and we just hung really tough," Wright said.

"We had eight players making their first appearance for our club today. But in saying that, Ali Brigginshaw and Raecene McGregor have great experience and they've got really good game management. I think that showed in the second half."

With 2018 Dally M Player of the Year Brittany Breayley among the pack to defect from Brisbane to St George Illawarra, Lavinia Gould stepped into the Broncos hooking role expertly.

"I thought Lavinia was fantastic. She's a fantastic defender and she just did her job really," Wright said.

Rookie NRLW props Amber Hall and Millie Boyle also earned special praise from Wright.

"Although they haven't played NRLW, Amber is obviously a Kiwi Ferns front-rower, Millie played Origin. So they've both played in big games. I thought they set the tone at the start," he said.

Hall lost an incredible 22 kilograms in preparation for the season and Wright said that commitment was reflected in her strong performance.

"There's been a lot of talk around Amber Hall and I probably see why. She's a pretty massive force," Wright said.

"She just wants to go out and compete and she wants to win for the team. It's a pretty fantastic story."

It was the Broncos' work without the ball that impressed the most as they repeatedly repelled the Dragons, whose lone try came from a kick.

"We have a pretty big defensive focus. With [former NRL players] Corey Parker and Simon Mannering in the coaching staff, we've got two blokes who were pretty good at it themselves," said Wright.

Wright is hopeful a lower leg injury to winger Tamika Upton is not serious with the Broncos to play the Roosters next round.

Meanwhile, Dragons coach Daniel Lacey didn't pull any punches in his assessment of the match, conceding the Red V "lacked that killer instinct to strike".

"Sometimes when you don't want to fail you lose a bit of confidence. It's not the ideal [result] to come away with but we get the chance to travel over to New Zealand and spend that week together, work on a bit of our combinations," Lacey said.

"We were very clunky at times [but] I thought we were really strong at times."

Lacey lamented his side's ball-handling after they constantly relieved the pressure on Brisbane to finish with a 69% completion rate.

A shining light for the Dragons was fullback Botille Vette-Welsh, who collected a game-high 174 run metres in a hard-working effort.

"She had something like 19 carries. I think we've got to inject her as an option there as a strike player, not just a ball carrier," Lacey said.

"I think earlier on the game she had that good carry and backing up your efforts to get into the position is tough.

"But one game under her belt, I think she'll be good for that and a lot of the girls will be good for that. We know we're up against it next week, it's pretty much do or die [against the Warriors]."