Last to first for Broncos premiership hero
From being a last-placed Dragon to a Karyn Murphy Medallist in a premiership-winning Broncos side, Annette Brander is still pinching herself.
The Broncos backrower was a standout in Sunday's 30-6 grand final demolition of the Dragons to help her new club claim back-to-back NRLW premierships.
The Australian Test star ran for 78m, made two tackle busts, a runaway linebreak, and a team-high 19 tackles.
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Just 12 months ago, Brander was part of the last-placed Dragons side.
This week, the 26-year-old Caboolture junior is celebrating an incredible rise to success - with an Australian Jillaroo call-up announced on Monday capping off a huge week.
"It's a bit surreal," Brander said.
"(The Karyn Murphy Medal) wasn't something I thought about after the game.
"I was so caught up in the fact that we had won a grand final, I wasn't even thinking about the player of the match.
"I was getting yelled at, and I thought I was getting yelled at for being out of number in the line.
"It's such an honour but ... it's definitely a team effort to get this."
Brander moved back home this year to be closer to her friends, family and work, and the small comforts have paid dividends for the Maroons backrower.
She helped celebrate the win in front of dozens of Brisbane fans at the Broncos Leagues Club on Monday during a fan meet-and-greet of this year's NRLW champions.
She said she had always followed the Broncos growing up and wanted to play for the powerhouse NRLW club.
"I got a little bit of FOMO (fear of missing out) seeing all my best mates sharing their time together at the Broncos," she said.
"That's obviously something else that pushed me to move back this year.
"Since I've started playing league, the Broncos have been a club that I've followed so to put the jersey on (is awesome)."
Broncos coach Kelvin Wright admitted signing Brander to the club was one of the first things he did when taking the helm at Red Hill.
"It was pretty early," Wright said.
"It was one of my first discussions with Tain Drinkwater, our CEO.
"We sat down and went through the roster and I said we've got a Jillaroo living 15 minutes down the road, so why isn't she playing for us?
"It was pretty early on that I looked to recruit her to the Broncos. I'm glad she came. It's all come to fruition."