Chelsea Lenarduzzi says the Broncos mean business

The message from Brisbane Broncos enforcer Chelsea Lenarduzzi could not be clearer ahead of the upcoming National Women's Rugby League Premiership season. The Broncos mean business.

By the Broncos exceptionally high standards, the 2022 NRLW campaign was disappointing. The club missed out on playing finals thanks to a last round loss to the Parramatta Eels.

But some things have changed and Lenarduzzi is confident in the Broncos chances for season 2023.

Scott Prince is the new Broncos NRLW coach.

He is also supported by Paul Dyer, who coached the team to their first Premiership in the inaugural season, who is now overseeing the club's female football program.

"Scott Prince has played over 300 games in the NRL and has played at every level, is so good, especially in attack," said Lenarduzzi.

"No one sees the game better in attack than he does, so to have him as our head coach is very cool.

"Some people may think he tries to get us to do complicated stuff, but his mantra is simple footy wins you games.

"He is also all about defence and working really hard because it's off the back of that hard work, that the cool stuff comes."

It's not just the coaching staff though. For Lenarduzzi one of the key focuses for the Broncos since the beginning of the NRLW is making sure that the team have the facilities and support to be set up for success.

This is in stark contrast to the other clubs, where women do not have their own lockers or are sharing training facilities with the men's team.

"We are lucky at the Broncos in that we have had high standards from the start," said Lenarduzzi.

"Little things like we have always had our own dressing shed, our own lockers.

"That professionalism will become part of the competition between clubs, just like in the men's competition where players want systems and facilities to help them succeed.

"They wouldn't have given the Dolphins a team in the NRL if they didn't have the right facilities, so I'm not sure why it happens in the women's game."

The Broncos have recruited strongly with some new faces to the club including Destiny Brill, Romy Teitzel and Tazmin Gray. But Lenarduzzi is especially excited about what Gayle Broughton and Mele Hufanga can bring.

"Gayle is so humble and has this aura about her, but she is always doing extras and constantly working hard," said Lenarduzzi.

"It's great to see someone of that calibre doing the most basic of skills before training and she is almost always the first on the field.

"Mele will be a machine and will be one of the cult figures; people will love her.

"In the World Cup she was very good but she had not played much league so I can't wait to see what she can do after a whole pre-season."

This new talent at the Broncos will play with a number of experienced players like Lenarduzzi who have been at the Broncos since the first NRLW season.

Another one of those experienced players is Ali Brigginshaw who continues to prove that she's not done yet.

Leading into last year's Rugby League World Cup there were questions about Brigginshaw's form with some even suggesting she was too old.

She proved all those people wrong with a stunning campaign which saw her awarded player of the match honours in the Australian Jillaroos' win over the Kiwi Ferns 54-4 in the Final. Brigginshaw continued that impressive form in Queensland's recent State of Origin series win.

"The criticism of Ali is just classic tall poppy syndrome and unfortunately when someone is really successful, people try and take away from it instead of enjoying what we are seeing right now," said Lenarduzzi.

"Ali is not done.

"The bigger starts tend to have the most haters because people want to see them fall and fail, but she doesn't.

"She just keeps getting up and playing really tough and strong footy."

Lenarduzzi is one of several players at the Broncos who have signed long term contracts. For Lenarduzzi this is an exciting point in the development of the women's game where teams can start to build combinations.

"The main thing is that we can start to build relationships which can last over a couple of seasons," said Lenarduzzi.

"It also means you can build culture, because in the past the short seasons made that really tricky."

This combined with longer seasons means that there is slightly less pressure for teams to gel instantly.

"In the past, with a six-game season it has literally felt like finals footy from the start because you have to win your games.

"I'm glad the season is longer now because just like in the men's game where teams can turn it around after a challenging start, you'll start to see that in the women's game too."