Broncos connection has Jillaroos wary of Kiwi Ferns
THE Jillaroos are bracing themselves for a New Zealand side buzzing with NRL women's premiership success ahead of Saturday's Auckland Test.
The Australian women fear the Kiwi Ferns will be sparked by their huge contingent from Brisbane, which not only claimed the inaugural NRLW title but went through the maiden NRLW season undefeated.
Seven Broncos feature in the Kiwi Ferns' 19-strong squad including Karyn Murphy Medallist as Player of the NRLW final, playmaker Kimiora Nati.
Kiwi five-eighth Nati scored three tries in the grand final as the New Zealand contingent helped steer Brisbane to four straight wins and a staggering 110-30 points differential.
"A lot of the girls have been with the Broncos and that is going to help them so I think they are going to be better this time," Jillaroos lock Annette Brander said.
Brander reckons she knows exactly what to expect.
The St George Illawarra back-rower came off second best to the Broncos pack spearheaded by Kiwi juggernaut Ngatokotoru Arakua in the Dragons' first round NRLW loss in Brisbane.
"The (NRLW) competition has been really tough and the games just really physical," Brander said.
"When we (Dragons) played the Broncos it was just a physical battle and it took me about four days to recover after that."
Dragons teammate Holli Wheeler is set to make her Test debut but believes her stint with the Prime Minister's XIII in PNG gave her a taste of what is to come.
NSW forward Wheeler said she was still nursing the bruises from their 40-4 win over the PNG Orchids at Port Moresby on Saturday, which featured a hat-trick from winger Shakiah Tungai.
"The PNG game was so physical but that's what we knew they were going to bring to the game," Wheeler said.
"But now I am going to debut for the Jillaroos. It's been insane, a dream year."