Brisbane have signalled they're set to be an NRLW force once again in 2019 despite a player exodus, opening their premiership defence with a 14-4 defeat of St George Illawarra.
Despite having five members of last year's title-winning squad lining up for the Dragons at Bankwest Stadium on Sunday, the Broncos signalled they were once again the team to beat after punishing a wasteful Red V outfit.
"We had eight players making their first appearance for the club today," Broncos coach Kelvin Wright said.
"Ali Brigginshaw and Raecene McGregor have great experience and I think that showed in the second half."
The Dragons were well in the contest going into the final 15 minutes but two key errors cruelled their chances.
After Meg Ward scored to give the Broncos an 8-4 lead 10 minutes into the second half, the Dragons were threatening to even things up.
They looked to have scored when Shakiah Tungai reeled in former Broncos half Kimiora Nati's bomb but was ruled to have knocked on by the bunker.
Botille Vette-Welsh had until that point enjoyed a strong game but came up with a poor error when she knocked on just 10 metres out from her own line and from the next set Rona Peters reached out from dummy-half for the match-winner.
Dragons coach Daniel Lacey said his side's match up with the Warriors next week was now a must-win.
"We lacked that killer instinct to strike and sometimes when you don't want to fail you lose a bit of confidence," Lacey said.
"We were very clunky at times and I thought we were very strong at times.
"The two disallowed tries were close but they came back to hurt us and ruined a bit of momentum."
The Dragons finished with the wooden spoon last year with just one win but bolstered their stocks by signing five members of the Broncos' premiership team headlined by Dally M female player of the year Brittany Breayley.
The Red V's brigade of former Broncos all had strong outings with Maitua Feterika running for 125m.
Breayley's replacement in the Broncos No.9 jumper, Lavinia Gould, enjoyed a stellar hit out and helped open the scoring when she turned Amber Paris-Hall inside for a barge-over try to make it 4-0.
The Dragons hit back in style with Nati grubbering through for Tungai, who received a room service bounce to make it 4-4 at the break however they ran out of steam in the second 30 minutes.
Australian Associated Press