Broncos premiership-winning flyer Meg Ward insists she is fitter and stronger than ever after recovering from a knee injury as she prepares to face several former teammates in Sunday's clash with the Dragons.
Ward had neck surgery at the end of last year and made a full recovery. She was just hitting her straps and was chosen for the Maroons in the State of Origin clash in June but injured her MCL in Queensland’s loss to NSW.
Noted as one of Brisbane’s fittest and most diligent trainers, Ward left no stone unturned in her quest to be ready for the Holden Women's Premiership season opener.
She didn’t play the Broncos' trial against the PNG Orchids a fortnight ago but is now ready to take on the Dragons on the wing after meeting the deadline that the club had set.
"I was pushing it really fine. I did my knee in State of Origin and I’ve been working really hard with the Broncos and Fitness Hub out at Redcliffe to get all my injuries under control," she said.
"I’ve come back stronger and fitter and if I didn’t think I could play this weekend I wouldn’t be out there. The Broncos have pushed me really hard in contact.
"Anyone with an injury sets themselves a goal and I had my deadline of game one and I worked really hard to get there every day."
The Dragons boast several of Brisbane's premiership-winning stars from last year including five-eighth Kimiora Nati, prop Teuila Fotu-Moala and hooker Brittany Breayley.
Breayley was adjudged female player of the year at last season’s Dally M awards and is regarded as the Cameron Smith of the women’s game. Limiting her influence will be crucial for Brisbane on Sunday.
"There is no other Brittany Breayley out there but I have full confidence in the girls we have chosen and we can shut her down," Ward said.
"Britto is good at reading the game and she is fast. She is the best No.9 in the world at the moment so all you can do is grit your teeth and shut her down early.
"They know the way we play and we know the way they play so it is going to be a really good match-up and a really exciting story. We love those girls and it is a shame they have left but they made those decisions for themselves. All the girls we have brought in are just as capable of getting the job done."
Ward said she expected "a really tight comp" and spoke of her desire to lift the premiership trophy again after the Broncos went through the 2018 season undefeated.
"Every time you look at that trophy you get excited and you think about the feeling of holding up that trophy," she said.
"It was an incredible moment last year and we want to back it up this year. We set the bar high last year and we want to keep it there.
"The new girls know that. They know the standards and the values we hold ourselves to and they have all jumped on board."
The Broncos will be coached by former Kiwi Ferns mentor Kelvin Wright, who has replaced Paul Dyer. On board are Warriors legend Simon Mannering and Broncos great Corey Parker as assistants, both of whom have brought plenty to the table already.
"They have 648 games of experience and they have definitely shown that at training all over the park," Ward said.