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Brontee Fulton


The 2021 NRLW grand final is shaping up to be worth the wait, after a gripping semi-final series. The stage is set for two Sydney sides to go head-to-head in Redcliffe this Sunday at 1.30pm (AEST). Both Foundation clubs, the St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters are no strangers to the big stage. For one team, this year will be the year of firsts, both playing with the same dream of securing their club’s maiden premiership.

Their journeys to the big dance look vastly different. The Dragons quickly silenced concerns of their potential as they hit the ground running and shot to the top of the ladder, losing just one game. The Roosters were slow out of the blocks, struggling with injury and cohesion, narrowly scraping into the semi’s on for and against. But once they arrived they sent an ominous warning when they defeated three-time premiers, the Brisbane Broncos in the upset of the season.

If history is anything to go by we can expect a nailbiter, the Dragons and Roosters have met on four occasions since the competition was established, each recording 2 wins. They last met in the final round of the regular season, where the Dragons defeated the tricolours 16-10. This matchup will mean more for some, the last time Jess Sergis, Isabelle Kelly, Raecence McGregor and Hannah Southwell appeared in a grand final they were wearing the jersey of their now opposition. NSW hooker Quincy Dodd is the only former Chooks player in the Dragons lineup.

Real Ins

The Roosters started the week off with huge relief when Blue’s prop Sarah Togatuki was free to play after successfully downgrading a high-tackle charge at the judiciary. John Strange has named an unchanged lineup, with Zahara Temara getting the nod to start at five-eighth.

Newly named Coach of the Year Jamie Soward has named a full strength side, including Teagan Dymock on the interchange bench despite recovering from a broken hand.

Real Game Changers

There is no denying the form of Dally M medalist Emma Tonegato with four tries, 3 try-assists, 5 line breaks and 967 run metres this season, the fullback will need to be firing if the Red V stands a chance against a chirpy chooks.

Former Dragon, Isabelle Kelly dominated the stat sheet once again last week, recording a whopping 11 tackle breaks, 2 line breaks and the sides opening try.

Keep an eye on the battle of the captains, Kezzie Apps (Dragons) and Corban Baxter (Roosters), both have a wealth of representative experience and will be leading from the front to rewrite their grand final losses. Apps missed just 1 of 33 tackles last week and led her side in post-contact metres, it is safe to say she will be charging again. Baxter averages 122 running metres and has notched up 212 kick return metres across the season.

And one more stat. When it comes to points, the Dragons have outscored the Roosters 128 points to 99 and conceded just 66 points compared to the Roosters 108.

No matter which way it goes, we know history will be made at Moreton Daily Stadium, as the new champions become just the 2nd club to claim the premiership in the history of the NRLW - don't miss a minute with Real Talk Media!

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