The nib Newcastle Knights NRLW side won their first game in the NRLW competition against the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday night.
The side ran in six tries to the Broncos three to defeat the three-time premiership winners and claim an opening round two points.
The NRLW Head Coach Ronald Griffiths and Co-Captain Millie Boyle spoke after the game on the victory, building foundations, an update on Hannah Southwell and key performers on the night.
ON THE WIN
"It was really special, 'Ronny' had a lot of trust in us to deliver the performance and I think we've got a lot to work on but it was great to do that for Newcastle, to do that for our team and the staff and players as well," Boyle said.
"It means everything to me, being involved in this playing group, it's really special and I think everyone playing really well tonight."
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"It's been a massive build-up, five weeks and we've really challenged them since day one...some ladies are working through the day and then training at 4pm in the afternoon. Since day one, we trained fast, we started fast and that's how we wanted tonight, we certainly did," Griffiths said.
"When Millie talked about trust, we trust our players inherently because we asked a lot of them in a five-week period and they delivered in every single session. It was the team-first mentality, it was great."
ON THE CLUB
"They've [the Club] really put a lot into us, and it's split the same boys and girls. Whatever they're doing for the boys, they're doing for us, so we really feel the love. We feel like we owe the club and the town that (win), it means a lot to us." Boyle said.
"The foundation of our club is 1988, the foundation of NRLW is July 2021 and unfortunately due to COVID it didn't go ahead, this year we really laid a strong foundation. It was a credit to the organisation and the staff that were there, we were able to spring off the foundation and start the year off fast." Griffiths said.
"Everyone gets behind the footy, no matter how the boys are going, they always show up and support us and so we want to be grateful for that and be appreciative, we'll do that by playing our best footy week in and week out," Boyle said.
"For us, we're a strong united front at the end of the day, when both teams play, they play the Newcastle way and sure we did a little bit better at times than they did. They just throughout the season but no doubt what we're doing can help grow the club as a whole," Griffiths said.
ON SOUTHWELL'S INJURY
"We'll see a specialist tomorrow and get some scans then go from there. That's all the information we can give you, we don't really know. It's a testament to her toughness, she hurt herself in the first 15 minutes and stayed there until half-time, she's an absolute warrior," Griffiths said.
"Hannah represents what the Newcastle hard-working blue-collar players are about, we've seen that tonight and over the past five weeks of training."
ON JESSE SOUTHWELL'S SIGNING
"We kept it under wraps, we didn't want to tell anyone too early. She's such a talent, she's only 17 years old but she organises the team really well and plays with so much composure, she just has fun out there and I think that's evident in her footy. We know she's going to get better week in and week out. She's a player you really want to play alongside." Boyle said.
"You've got a world-class halfback in Ali Brigginshaw, who's been at the top of her game for an extremely long period, there were times tonight where she really challenged us defensively and kept us honest. Then we look at Jesse who's a 17-year-old who's been exempted to play. It's great to see the strength of halfbacks at either end of the spectrum for both teams." Griffiths said.
ON THE GROWTH OF WOMEN'S SPORT
"In the next couple of years we'll definitely see more of the growth and the pathways that girls have been playing since they were 12... Jesse's one of those players that's finally reaping those rewards of the pathways put in place." Boyle said.
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"The growth of the female game is going to be existential in the next five years and we want to be at the forefront of it, we're doing something completely left field. We're doing a whole-person program so it's not just about rugby league, some of the stuff we're doing is groundbreaking...it's exciting times at the Newcastle Knights." Griffiths said.
ON FUTURE PERFORMANCE
"Our completions are probably at 50% so there's only improvement from there...we just really wanted to turn up tonight, it was the first win for Newcastle, we're playing after the boys, it was a big day and there's been a lot going into this game." Boyle said.
"We got some great leaders in our team so we'll rein things back in pretty quickly. It's a simple game cycle that we stick to and I've got no doubt once we go through some videos and analyse what we did," Griffiths said.
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"Regardless of the result tonight, there's was one thing we wanted and that was to leave the Newcastle community proud, it didn't matter if we won or lost, we ticked that off tonight. That's extremely important to us."