NRLW: Breayley stepping outside her comfort zone with Dragons

FOCUSED: Dragons hooker Brittany Breayley. Picture: NRL Photos
FOCUSED: Dragons hooker Brittany Breayley. Picture: NRL Photos

DRAGONS coach Daniel Lacey is no stranger to coaching the game's big names but, when it comes to recruitment coups, bringing Brittany Breayley to Wollongong takes the cake.

The reigning Dally M Player of the Year and Queensland mainstay spearheaded the Broncos run to the inaugural NRLW title last season.

Prying her away from home looked a fools' errand but Lacey figured it was at least worth a phone call.

"I was under the assumption that everyone else was, she lives in [Brisbane], she's a Queenslander through and through," Lacey said.

"I always wanted her, she's the best hooker in the game. It was probably wishful thinking in some sense at the beginning but if you don't ask you don't know.

"My pitch to all the players, and especially Brittany, was that I'm here to win for the club but I'm here the help them as players.

"I never try and force it, I tell them what we can offer, I give them the big picture and then I let them make the decision.

"I don't sit there by the phone all day saying 'please, please' they've got to want to come. I can remember the day clearly on a Thursday, she rang me in the morning and said 'right I'm coming'.

"It's a good feeling to know a player of that calibre wants to be a part of what we've got and they believe in it enough to take a risk, and get out of their comfort zone."

It's certainly been the case early on for Breayley, who only inked her deal with the Dragons three days before the contract registration period ended.

It hasn't been a simple shift, it never is for the women who play NRLW and have to put work and family lives on hold to play in the month-long competition.

"Being a female athlete there's a lot to consider when making a decision like I did but, at the end of the day, I wanted to better myself as a person and a player," Breayley said.

"[Lacey] spoke to me before the Origin campaign and I wasn't happy to make a decision before then. The day the media [announcement] went out was the day I signed the contract so it was pretty fast.

"It was a big decision but having the challenge of being around a different bunch of girls and stepping out of my comfort zone was probably the biggest thing.

"Our Jillaroos coach [Brad Donald] always tells us we should challenge ourselves and I thought moving to a different club I'd be able to do that."

Breayley is one of five members from the Broncos premiership-winning roster to make the shift to the Dragons this season.

It adds some spice to their season-opener against their former club on Sunday, but Breayley said it's more serendipitous than by design.

"When I was speaking to Lacey he didn't mention all his signings he just mentioned the girls that were returning from last year," Breayley said.

"He didn't let slip there were five of us coming [from the Broncos] so it wasn't a decision-maker.

"A lot of people probably thought we made a pact. That wasn't the case at all but it is a really good roster.

"I'm just trying to enjoy my experience here and not put too much pressure on myself. We've got a really good group of girls here so hopefully our actions can speak for themselves.

"I just can't wait to get out there with everyone."

This story NRLW: Breayley stepping outside her comfort zone with Dragons first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.