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Broncos NRLW: 2020 by the numbers

Brisbane proved again they're the benchmark in the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership by securing a third consecutive title in 2020. 

Nobody was willing to write the Broncos off despite player turnover and a lack of preparation due to COVID-19 leaving them somewhat depleted.

However, a 20-10 win over the Roosters on grand final day cast aside fears the Broncos' dominance was at a crossroads. 

Ali Brigginshaw's move to lock was a masterstroke, while Tamika Upton was a clear point of difference at the back in an evolving side that shows no signs of slowing down.

Snapshot

The Broncos lost a host of experience in the off-season with Chelsea Baker, Heather Ballinger, Steph Hancock and Rona Peters among those no featuring.

Jillaroos forward Tazmin Gray also departed for the Warriors to bring the club's average age figure down to 24.4 this year after previously being 26.6 in 2019. 

Broncos coach Kelvin Wright recalled Tallisha Harden after a season at the Roosters but otherwise turned to youth and relying on the rest of his core side to get the job done. 

Broncos debutantes Lauren Brown, Shanae Ciesiolka and Shannon Mato all finished the NRLW season with selection for Queensland and look like strong prospects for the future. 

Try scoring – game time

The Broncos scored seven tries across three first halves in 2020 with five tries coming in the second 30 minutes, while they conceded at most two in each 15-minute quarter.

Aside from conceding two tries in the first 10 minutes against the Warriors in round one, the eventual premiers conceded only five tries after that in a strong show of defensive prowess.

Tamika Upton finished as the NRLW's leading try-scorer with five tries, including one in the grand final.

Attack

The Broncos struggled with their completion rates in the opening two matches before improving in their two matches against the Roosters.

Tamika Upton led the competition in line breaks with six in three games with Julia Robinson (3), Ali Brigginshaw (2) and Jayme Fressard the next best.

They continued to excel in offloads with 26 for the regular season.

Chelsea Lenarduzzi was the clear leader with eight, followed by Broncos teammate Amber Hall generating six in two games prior to her one-week suspension.

Run metres differential

Brisbane were pipped by the Roosters for yardage gained this year but were effective where it counted most – reducing metres by the opposition.

Their 1031 average conceded per game was the best in the competition, while they were well-led through the middle by their usual suspects in terms of moving the ball up the field.

Tamika Upton (453.7 metres) was supported by Millie Boyle (287.8 metres) and Julia Robinson (285.9 metres) in the side's top three.

Discipline

The Broncos may have struggled with their completion rates early but ended up with the least amount of errors across the regular rounds with 26 in total.

Julia Robinson and Jess Elliston finished with four errors each, while Chelsea Lenarduzzi (3) gave away the most penalties with three.

Backing up the notion the Broncos were the best side defensively, the premiers recorded just 23 missed tackles per game.

Kicking

Brisbane's kicking was again a cornerstone of their game with Ali Brigginshaw's move to lock giving the side a third option.

Despite the move to the forwards, Brigginshaw remained the side's chief kicker with 495.4 kick metres recorded.

Five-eighth Raecene McGregor was the side's next best with 248.7 metres.

Winger Meg Ward was also crucial to the side going up by six with a 91.7 per cent goal-kicking average.

Distance gained from offloads

The Broncos have been the benchmark in many areas across the game but generating most of their second phase play through offloads is a consistent point of difference.

As offloads took another increase across the entire competition, the Broncos' key offload queens – Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Amber Hall – helped lead the way for a total 184 additional metres gained.

Hall's six offloads led to 50 metres gained by the side, while Lenarduzzi (45.7 metres) had three tries come from her ability to keep the ball alive.

Dummy passes

The old saying of don't fall for the dummy couldn't be any clearer if you're trying to take down the Broncos, particularly their dominant playmakers.

Ali Brigginshaw topped the competition with 22 dummy passes, double the NRLW's next best Maddie Studdon. Raecene McGregor (10) also finished in the top five.

2020 Form Guide

Round Opposition Venue Result
1 Warriors GIO Stadium, Canberra Won 28-14
2 Dragons Bankwest Stadium, Sydney Won 4-18
3 Roosters ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 16-24
Grand Final Roosters ANZ Stadium, Sydney Won 20-10