It is the third and final round of the NRLW, and three out of four teams will be battling it out for that final Grand Final spot. This may be the best round yet.
Broncos vs Warriors, Saturday 5:05pm at Sydney Cricket Ground
While the Broncos are secured a spot in the big dance, it’s do or die for the Warriors who need to get their second win in order to play again next week.
The Broncos continued their slick form last week with a 20-0 thrashing of the Roosters, and seemed strong on all areas of the field. In their only changes, winger Tamika Upton has been named to return on from a leg injury, pushing Meg Ward to the reserves despite her great form last week.
While the Warriors have one win to their name and performed well in both rounds, fitness cost them last week and saw them lose to a speedy Dragons line in the final 15 minutes. In a shakeup to their side, Madison Bartlett, Amber Kani and Tasia Seumanufagai have all been named to return to the 17, and superstar Honey Hiereme has been named in the extended lineup, but her availability is yet to be confirmed due to family commitments. Prop Tyler Reid will miss this week after a concussion in round 2.
Last time they met:
These two met in similar circumstances and the same round last year, in which the Broncos dominated 32 – 10.
Anything is possible in rugby league, but the Warriors really need to push if they want that spot in the Grand Final. They’ll need to keep up defensively with a fast-paced and strong Broncos attack and increase their speed to get across the line. Personally, I think the Broncos are just too strong and will win this one by 10.
Roosters vs Dragons, Sunday 1:15pm at Leichhardt Oval
With 15 players from the winning New South Wales State of Origin Team across two traditional clubs battling it out for a Grand Final spot, this game has it all. If that wasn’t enough, it’s the first stand-alone NRLW game in Australia.
The Dragons got their first win last week, when a 15 minute try frenzie saw them click into fantastic form. Despite some strong defensive efforts last week, local star Rikeya Horne has been pushed to the bench with the return of Stephanie Mooka. Kimiora Nati is not named due to illness, so Keeley Davis and Maddie Studdon have been named in the halves. Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa’amausili has been named in the extended bench.
Similarly to last year, the Roosters come into round three winless after a 20 – 0 smashing by the Broncos. This has seen a major reshuffle coming into this week, with Bobbi Law, Jasmin Allende and Quincy Dodd all named to debut in replacement of Shontelle Stowers, Rebecca Young and Simone Smith. Zahara Temara will replace captain Simaima Taufa at lock, who is out with ankle ligament damage. Mel Howard and Kirra Dibb have both been named in the halves.
This could be the last game played at an elite level by Ruan Sims, who announced her retirement this week. Having captained the Jillaroos and NSW, as well as competing in City vs Country, National Championships, NRL All Stars and both seasons of the NRLW, Sims has played a key role in the development and growth of female rugby league.
Last time they met:
Round 3 last year saw the win-less Roosters finally click and overcome the Dragons 26 – 0 to make it to the Grand Final.
While they did it last year, I’m not sure if the Roosters can come from behind to win this one. The loss of their captain Simaima Taufa is a huge loss, and a reshuffle to the starting 17 may make it difficult to click. If the Dragons can continue their form from last week through the use of their speedy outside backs, they’ll be difficult to contain. I think the Dragons will win by 14 to make it to the Grand Final.