Brisbane rout Warriors in NRLW

Brisbane's Tamika Upton goes on the charge in the Broncos' NRL win over the Warriors on Saturday.
Brisbane's Tamika Upton goes on the charge in the Broncos' NRL win over the Warriors on Saturday.

Reigning premiers Brisbane have laid the foundation for a serious shot at a historic three-peat after opening their NRLW campaign with a 28-14 carve-up of the Warriors.

The highly-rated Broncos were expected to make short work of a Warriors side that was only cobbled together in Sydney last week due to coronavirus restrictions.

Just five players from last year's Warriors squad have based themselves in their bubble on the northern beaches, with Australian Jillaroos coach Brad Donald taking over on an interim basis.

But, led by an impressive first-half hat-trick from fullback sensation Tamika Upton and skipper Ali Brigginshaw, Brisbane showed no mercy in Canberra on their way to re-staking their claim as the team to beat.

Upton also tallied a game-high 174 metres with the ball.

"Really happy with the way her game's developing," Broncos coach Kelvin Wright said.

"She's really getting a feel for the players to be around and hang around. We do have some good offloaders in our team and she's got the ability to sniff out a try. She finds space.

"There's not much to her, but she manages to get through."

There was a scare late in the game when five-eighth Raecene McGregor was forced from the field in a medicab with a suspected neck issue.

"She's fine. It's more of a scare. She got caught in some sort of crusher tackle and she's got some tingling down her arms, but she's walking around and moving," Wright said.

The Warriors threatened to cause a boilover when they ambushed Brisbane with the opening two tries, including a set piece for rugby sevens convert Ellia Green, who shone in her first game in the code.

The 2016 Rio gold medallist was a handful with each carry, while also pulling off a handful of jolting hits.

However, a three-try blitz in the space of 13 minutes for the speedy Upton resulted in the Broncos surging to an eight-point halftime lead.

Brisbane duo Julia Robinson and Chelsea Lennarduzzi piled on the points after the break, with Warriors centre Evania Pelite, another sevens convert, adding a consolation four-pointer.

NRL boss Andrew Abdo addressed the Warriors group after the game and thanked them for their sacrifices in residing in a temporary bubble.

"He came in and thanked the players for their efforts this year," Donald said.

"It's a tough dressing room... to talk to a team that's just lost, and they did, they had high expectations of doing well, so it was great to hear from Andrew."

Australian Associated Press