Brisbane NRLW coach Scott Prince says they will rally around squad members Toni Hunt and Lavinia Gould, who are both dealing with personal trauma.
The 35-year-old Hunt, who has played two games this season, has taken indefinite leave to undergo chemotherapy after a second cancer diagnosis.
Foundation Broncos hooker Gould, 40, is supporting her daughter who is in a serious condition in hospital following complications from surgery late last month.
The Brisbane team will wear tribute jerseys against Wests Tigers in Newcastle on Saturday with a heart and the two players’ initials embroidered in maroon above the Broncos logo.
Prince said the club had provided emotional and financial support to Hunt and Gould.
The Broncos are in fourth position on the ladder and want to keep winning for their two teammates, while providing support.
“When you have trauma in life, whether it is with your personal family or sporting family, it is quite tragic and emotional,” he said.
“The girls are a very supportive bunch and a tight-knit group. This is something that will galvanise this team and something to play for, if not their own personal and team goals, it is certainly for these two lovely ladies.
“It is another driving force towards making this top four.
“We’ve certainly had an opportunity to chat with Toni. We understand that the way we can rally around her and be supportive of her is emotionally …and we will be all-in with Toni and her family.
“Lavinia has her own battles with her daughter. That is ongoing. It has obviously taken a crazy turn in recent times.”
Prince said it had been a thrill for him on a personal level to coach Hunt.
“Toni is an integral part of our group. I remember watching her play touch footy in Kuala Lumpur in 2019 and I said then that if I ever coached a rugby league team I’d give her a call,” he said.
“I reunited with her at Valleys in 2021 and it is great to see her experience NRLW at the highest level.”
While a difficult time for the players, Prince backed them to keep performing.
“The girls are professional,” he said.
“They understand there is trauma around not only our team, but in society. The girls have put that to the side and focused on what needs to be done.”