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Roosters admit shellshock after Broncos set blazing tempo in decider

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 30/09/2018 Daniel Lane

Video provided by Wide World of Sports

Sydney Roosters forward Ruan Sims best summed up the nature of her team’s 34-12 NRLW defeat to the Brisbane Broncos succinctly when she lamented: "Grand finals are made up of really small moments that are executed perfectly – unfortunately, today, we didn’t press home our advantage."

The Roosters started the NRLW premiership described as it’s glamour team after recruiting the cream of the crop – Jillaroos, rugby union internationals, NSW Origin superstars and even talented Queenslanders who joined the Sydney team ahead of the Broncos.

However, they were dominated by a ruthless Brisbane team that seized the grand final by the scruff of the neck in the first half and refused to loosen their grip, despite some heroic second-half charges by the likes of Roosters prop, Elianna Walton.

They made too many errors, the most painful of which followed putting points on the board, denying them any opportunity to get onto the front foot.

Hard yards: Rona Peters makes a break in the showpiece event of the women's game. © AAP Hard yards: Rona Peters makes a break in the showpiece event of the women's game. Roosters coach Adam Hartigan said he had expected a tough game, but was stunned by both the nature of the Broncos' winning performance and his own team’s effort, especially after he reflected on the Roosters’ spirited build-up to the game.

“First half was probably shellshock,” he said of the tempo of the title decider. “Looking back on it now, we were just happy to be there rather than willing to compete . . . there was effort there, but the effort wasn’t good enough.

“There was no indication during the week they were just happy to be there, there was a lot of hunger during the week – but things happen in footy, and unfortunately we were on the wrong end of it.”

Too strong: The Broncos celebrate at full-time after sealing the NRLW title. © AAP Too strong: The Broncos celebrate at full-time after sealing the NRLW title. Hartigan and his players fully expected the Brisbane bruisers to try and “bully” them out of the game, and while the Brisbane pack caused plenty of damage, it was livewire, Kimiora Nati – wearing the No.6 Brisbane jumper made famous by the great Wally Lewis – who landed three killer blows.

The Kiwi star, a mother, scored a hat-trick of tries along her way to securing the inaugural Karyn Murphy Medal as the player of the grand final.

Her second, a penalty try in the 18th minute when the Roosters winger Taleena Simon tried to kick the ball from her as she latched onto it after an Ali Brigginshaw kick, was considered the one which ended the Sydney team’s assault on the crown.

Lavina O'Mealey of the Roosters looks dejected after defeat during the 2018 NRL Women's Premiership Grand Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. © Mark Kolbe/Getty Images Lavina O'Mealey of the Roosters looks dejected after defeat during the 2018 NRL Women's Premiership Grand Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos at ANZ Stadium on September 30, 2018 in Sydney, Australia. Another telling point at half-time was the metres gained by both teams. The Broncos had churned through 527, their opponents only 217. The word from the Roosters camp was “pride” and it drove them to not allow for the game to become a cakewalk.

Brisbane’s spine was outstanding: fullback Chelsea Baker, halfback Brigginshaw and hooker Brittany Breayley tormented their opponents, and thrilled the 16,214-strong crowd.

"From the moment this team came together as a group it had that special feeling," said triumphant Broncos coach Paul Dyer .

"They went out there and did what they have done for the last three weeks. They executed their plays, had moments where they were a bit poor but as a general rule they were very good."

Brigginshaw said the victory was built on the simple foundation of every player knowing – and doing – their jobs.

“It was such a team effort, from 1-17, it didn’t matter who was getting the ball, we knew what we were doing,” she said. “I’m sure people watching that could see that was all clicking.

“Even defensively we all knew our job and we all did our job great . . . it was such a great feeling.”

Pictures: NRL grand final day 2018

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