Isabelle Kelly of the Roosters makes a break during the round one NRLW match between the Sydney Roosters and the Brisbane Broncos.
The sides have battled against each other in two of the last three premiership deciders, with the Broncos sweeping to victory each time. However, this season the pair will meet in Sunday’s semi-final to determine the final spot in the following weekend’s grand final.
The Broncos have only lost two games since the competition’s inception in 2018. Suffering their second ever defeat in round four to the Titans, the Broncos are positioned firmly in the top spot.
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With first on the ladder playing fourth, women’s rugby league pioneer Ruan Sims says the Roosters need to shut down Brisbane’s spine and incredible ball-playing ability in order to take control of the match.
“I think for the Roosters if they can hold the middle and if their forwards can really take it to the Broncos forwards, that’ll really give them an opportunity to have a crack at this game,” she told Nine’s NRLWrap.
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“It is going to be a really tough outing for both sides. I think there’s going to be a fair few bruises afterwards.”
After a slow start to the season, the Roosters have shown signs of improvement as the rounds have progressed.
“I think they’ve really settled into their halves pair,” Sims said.
“They’ve definitely gotten a lot better towards the end of the season, they’ve really gelled together as a team,” Dragons star Quincy Dodd added.
“They’ve got some new players in there so I feel it’s really bringing them home harder and they’re getting better and better each time.”
The Broncos will receive a boost with a few handy inclusions coming back into the side, including fullback Tamika Upton who returns after suffering a concussion and being diagnosed with COVID-19.
The Roosters will be relying heavily on captain Corban Baxter and centres Jessica Sergis and Isabelle Kelly to help them over the line.
“As long as they try to use them up and using the whole team as well, but making sure those girls do get to go out there and play how they normally play,” Dodd said.
The NRLW semi-final action kicks off with the Dragons and the Titans at 12pm (AEST) on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
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