Upton achieves rare NRLW feat as Broncos open campaign with win over Warriors

Brisbane Broncos fullback Tamika Upton

It was a New Zealand Warriors that showed grit and determination like their male counterparts but it was not enough to overcome the Brisbane Broncos.

On the back of a Tamika Upton hat-trick, the Broncos fought back resolutely to come-from-behind and win 28-14.

Upton became just the third player to score a hat-trick in the NRLW tournament with her match-winning display.

It was the Warriors who burst out of the blocks with two tries.

Simone Smith was the first to score when she took the line on, spun, and found her way to the line.

Rugby sevens star Ellia Green then showed a glimpse of her speed as she finished off a back-line movement on the right flank.

Upton, picking up where she left off after a quality display in last year’s grand final, scored the first of her tries with great footwork.

Tarryn Aiken combined with Upton and the fullback darted and weaved her way through the Warriors defence.

Prop Millie Boyle then laid off a nice pass through the middle for Upton to score under the posts for her second try.

Aiken and Upton would combine a second time, with a scrum play to the right resulting in the combination working again.

Upton had her hat-trick within 13 minutes to put all sorts of pressure on the Warriors.

Aiken would again turn provider, this time with a play down the right edge that found centre Julia Robinson to slice through.

A nice play by crafty Broncos hooker Lavinia Gould saw prop Chelsea Lenarduzzi crash over to score.

A well-worked play by Smith found a flying Evania Pelite to coast through the Broncos defence.

Try as they might, the Warriors could not score more points as Brad Donald wants his side to play better.

“Yeah it was entertaining but it still wasn’t the performance they could’ve put together,” Donald said.

“I just said to the girls then we’ve got a warm and fuzzy feeling amongst the camp but we’re not here to just make up numbers.”

Donald wants to see improvement in his side and show that they belong in the competition.

“They’ve got to make sure they leave here with improvement,” Donald continued.

“We need to make sure we’re accountable for some poor decisions we made and missed tackles we made out there.”

Broncos coach Kelvin Wright said despite the short warm-up and preparation, he was pleased with his side.

“It wasn’t an ideal start but it was probably a reflection of the whole day – it’s been a learning experience right from our flight this morning,” Wright said.

“We met at the [Broncos Leagues] club just after 7am, went through our testing and onto a plane, then a holding room – just a lot more delays than expected.

“Our warm-up was really cut short and our start reflected that as well. I was proud of how we clawed our way back and got on top.”

NRL News Player of the Game

3. Tamika Upton (BRI)

2. Simone Smith (WAR)

  1. Chelsea Lenarduzzi (BRI)
New Zealand Warriors half playing for the Indigenous side, Simone Smith

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