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NRLW 2020: Broncos dominate Team of the Year

As part of the NRL 2020 Annual, NRLW chief reporter Alicia Newton names her NRLW Team of the Year.

 

Commitment and sacrifice have been the cornerstones of female rugby league for decades but in 2020 the part-time and semi-professional athletes were truly put to the test.

After fears the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership and Harvey Norman State of Origin event wouldn't go ahead in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NRL officials ended that talk with confirmation of a 2020 season.

The next step was to ensure coaches and support staff could get players onto the field given the challenges created by COVID-19. Then the players had to agree to the strict biosecurity measures in place. 

From international and state border closures across Australia and New Zealand that would force 14-day quarantining in some cases, to players filling out pre-screen forms that detailed their everyday movements for up to three months.  

Match Highlights: Broncos v Roosters

Many players took extended work leave, some quit their jobs and others made the tough, but respected, call to not participate at all.

In between all the commotion, the NRLW delivered its highest-quality competition on record with tries, line breaks and other key statistical areas at a three-year high.

There were cross-code rugby sevens stars Charlotte Caslick, Ellia Green and Evania Pelite joining the competition, while Jillaroos coach Brad Donald (Warriors) and assistant Jamie Feeney (Roosters) took the reins of NRLW clubs.

The quality of the State of Origin fixture in November finished a disrupted season on the right note and proved once again these women are capable of adjusting to anything thrown their way.

Match Highlights: Maroons v Blues

Ali Brigginshaw's selection at halfback in the NRL Annual Team of the Year may raise a few eyebrows given she spent most of her time playing at lock for the Broncos and Maroons in 2020.

However, the Dally M medallist was still at her playmaking best and the form of Hannah Southwell was enough to see Brigginshaw revert to the halves.

Three Warriors make up the backline with ever-reliable winger Karina Brown getting through enough work for both her new club and the Maroons.

Pelite and Green were enormous for the Warriors in their three-game stints and complete a backline that includes Broncos fullback Tamika Upton and five-eighth Tarryn Aiken.

Broncos props Millie Boyle and Chelsea Lenarduzzi make up the front row with back-rowers Amber Hall and Tallisha Harden completing the forward pack. Roosters utility Quincy Dodd joins the list after a stellar campaign coming off the bench.

 

The views in this article do not necessarily express the opinions of the NRL, ARL Commission, NRL clubs or state associations.