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Dragons to face Roosters in decider after edging out fast-finishing Titans

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 03: Jamie Chapman of the Dragons celebrates scoring a try during the NRLW Semi Final match between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval, on April 03, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – APRIL 03: Jamie Chapman of the Dragons celebrates scoring a attempt all through the NRLW Semi Final fit between the St George Illawarra Dragons and the Gold Coast Titans at Leichhardt Oval, on April 03, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo via Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

St George-Illawarra gained their NRLW semi-final towards festival newcomers Gold Coast Titans on Sunday to make it again to the promised land for the primary time since 2019.

Rookie trainer Jamie Soward turning the 2020 wood spooners into grand finalists, who overcame a sluggish begin to be successful on the hallowed Leichhardt Oval in entrance of 1734 lovers.

A past due Titans’ surge, with two tries within the last 5 mins, closed the space to 6, however in spite of the surprising nerves, the Dragons improved 24-18.

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The Dragons are the first team through to the NRLW grand final.
The Dragons are the primary staff thru to the NRLW grand last.

After difficult reigning champions Brisbane Broncos for best spot all season, the Dragons showed the highest two billing via reserving their spot within the decider subsequent Sunday, at Redcliffe.

Under shiny, sunny skies, 40-year-old veteran and 20-Test Jillaroos nice Stephanie Hancock stormed over the road to submit the outlet issues, appearing some fleet of foot that belied her age, adopted via her moment within the last minute to stay the sunshine flickering.

With captain Kezie Apps, stand out fullback Emma Tonegato flicked the transfer halfway during the first part, each exceeding 100 run metres.

Tonegato’s fourth attempt of the season gave the second-placed Dragons the halftime lead.

Jaime Chapman’s confirmed no indicators of closing week’s head knock via scoring the victors’ 3rd, and in live performance together with her aspect’s defiant defence, the goalkicking of halfback Rachael Pearson ensured the rankings didn’t get nearer than they want be, kicking 3 from 4.

PELITE LATE INCLUSION TO NO AVAIL

Australian Olympic gold medallist and celebrity again Evania Pelite was once a past due inclusion within the centres for the Titans after an ankle harm forged actual doubt over her involvement all through the week.

Evania Pelite tries to get the Titans moving forward.
Evania Pelite tries to get the Titans transferring ahead.

The 26-year-old former Rugby Sevens participant had performed many of the season at fullback however was once shifted to the centres and confirmed no indicators of being hampered early with a final ditch try-saving take on on winger Teagan Berry.

But the Dragons’ relentless rate made the trouble beside the point. Fellow Rio 2016 Sevens gold medallist, opposing No. 1 Tonegato, popping out on best.

SOWARD MAKES GF IN ROOKIE SEASON

A former NRL part and 2010 premiership winner, Jamie Soward signed because the Dragons’ NRLW trainer in October 2021 and has taken his aspect, who had been winless in 2020, to the deciding fit.

Enduring what he described as ‘torture’ within the week main as much as the sport, Soward would were thrilled to look his staff take care of the defence he has emphasized all season.

Soward performed 215 video games for the Roosters, Dragons and Penrith all through his outstanding NRL occupation below premiership successful coaches Ricky Stuart, Wayne Bennett and Ivan Cleary. After subsequent Sunday, he might be able to upload his title to that listing.

Steph Hancock charges into the Dragons defence.
Steph Hancock fees into the Dragons defence.

FAREWELL FOR HANCOCK, PERHAPS?

When she opened the scoring, it seemed that NRLW nice Steph Hancock is also set for a fairytale farewell in a grand last.

Hancock got here out of retirement of be one in every of Gold Coast’s marquee signings of their inaugural season, beginning nearly all video games after suggesting in the beginning of the season she can be filling most commonly a bench position.

Passing a HIA, she returned to the sector to complete with the similar spirit she was once demonstrated all the way through her embellished occupation.

Broncos up the ante in bid for four-peat

– Chris Honnery

Broncos fullback Tamika Upton has been described as being “in a league of her own” because the Rockhampton rocket returns to the aspect this weekend in an enormous spice up to Brisbane’s premiership probabilities.

The 25-year-old has been compelled to take a seat out the previous two video games as a result of harm after which Covid as Brisbane went on to assert the NRLW minor premiership and e-book a semi-finals spot towards the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Upton lit the contest alight within the early rounds of the season together with her blistering tempo and reinforce play ahead of a head knock with Dragons centre Keele Browne in around 3 after which a good Covid consequence dominated her out for the remainder of the common season.

The Brisbane No.1 admitted it were difficult to observe her teammates whilst she sat in isolation – or from the sideline – nevertheless it gave her a contemporary viewpoint at the sport and it’s set to offer her a large benefit over the Roosters on Sunday.

“I learnt a lot watching from the sideline so I took that as a positive,” Upton stated.

Tamika Upton is back for the Broncos in their semi-final against the Roosters. Picture: Lachie Millard
Tamika Upton is again for the Broncos of their semi-final towards the Roosters. Picture: Lachie Millard

“I realised the area and the spacing on the field. You don’t really see that while you’re out there because you get a bit of tunnel vision.

“I watched that Titans game from the coaches’ box so you can see the whole field.

“That was a really good experience.”

SCROLL DOWN FOR NRLW SEMI-FINAL TEAM LISTS

Upton’s go back is ready to be an enormous spice up for the Broncos in Sunday’s semi-final, with Brisbane enforcer Millie Boyle describing the gifted fullback as being in a league of her personal.

“I definitely think Tamika is in a league of her own,” Boyle stated.

“She’s set the standard for fullbacks playing the game, not just in the women’s game.

“It comes so natural to her in the way she organises the defensive line and chimes in when she’s needed.

“She has this ability to pop up in the middle for a support play.

“Cover tackles, speed, everything, she just ticks so many boxes.

“As good as she is, I think she’s still very underrated for what she actually does for the team and our confidence.

“She’s a big boost to have back this week.”

Broncos enforcer Millie Boyle is excited to have Tamika Upton back for Brisbane’s seems-final. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images
Broncos enforcer Millie Boyle is worked up to have Tamika Upton again for Brisbane’s seems-final. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images

The Broncos additionally welcome again premiership-winning outdoor again Julia Robinson on Sunday after she broke her cheekbone in around 1.

Despite the losses of Upton and Robinson, the Broncos were in a position to hide their spots in a transparent indication of the energy in their enjoying roster intensity.

“Our depth is great and we’ve had a few debutants this season,” Upton stated.

“The experienced people like Amy Turner and Ali Brigginshaw helps to bring through these younger ones and they just step into the Broncos jersey and do a job.

“I’ve been really impressed.

“There’s a lot of talent out there and with expansion, we’ll no doubt see a lot more.”

Soward places metal in Dragons

-Matt Encarnacion

Jamie Soward is aware of a factor or two about being defensive.

Which is why it will have to be no wonder that St George Illawarra are banking on their popularity as the most efficient defensive staff within the NRLW to force them to a step forward premiership.

The Dragons will likely be out to e-book a place in subsequent week’s grand last in Redcliffe once they face novices Gold Coast within the first of Sunday’s semi-final double-header in Leichhardt.

Soward’s aspect had been denied the minor premiership via issues differential, alternatively they may be able to nonetheless lay declare to being the most efficient defensive staff after conceding simply 48 issues of their 5 video games.

And centre Jaime Chapman credit the premiership-winning trainer.

“We have such a strong forward pack. And while our girls are little, we’re definitely strong,” Chapman stated. “Everything we’ve been working towards has come our way during the game.

Jaime Chapman on the charge for the Dragons. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images
Jaime Chapman on the charge for the Dragons. Picture: Ashley Feder/Getty Images

“Sowie doesn’t hold back on us with contact at training. So I think that’s helped us a lot within the games and our experiences as well.”

The Dragons must be at their miserly very best to disclaim the Titans what can be a fairytale shot at premiership glory of their inaugural season.

Gold Coast driven St George Illawarra all of the means of their round-one conflict off the again of an inspirational show from megastar fullback Evania Pelite.

The 2016 Rugby Sevens gold medallist was once close to unstoppable that day, recording a game-high 162 runs because the Titans fought again from a 14-0 deficit to get again inside two.

Pelite neglected closing week’s final-round win over Newcastle with an ankle harm, and stays in some doubt to take the sector at Leichhardt Oval after being named on a longer bench.

“She’s such a strong player and she’s one of our targets,” Chapman stated.

“Having her out of the game would be a win for us. But if she was to play, we all trust each other to get straight on her and tackle her one-on-one.”

NRLW SEMI-FINALS – THE KEY MATCH-UPS

DRAGONS and TITANS

Kezie Apps v Steph Hancock

Two of probably the most skilled forwards within the ladies’s sport are proceeding to dominate the contest, so be expecting fireworks once they come in combination. Apps has averaged 11 carries for as regards to 100m throughout her 3 video games this season whilst Hancock has barnstormed her option to two a very powerful tries in two separate fits.

Emma Tonegato v Jetaya Faifua

Olympic gold medallist Tonegato has been one of the most standouts of the NRLW season up to now. Her blistering pace and take on busting skill has terrorised opposition defensive strains. Youngster Jetaya Faifua has been named within the No.1 jersey for the injured Evania Pelite – who has been named at the prolonged bench – and possesses scintillating pace to rival Tonegato’s. Pelite was once the megastar within the first assembly between those two aspects.

BRONCOS and ROOSTERS

Tamika Upton v Corban Baxter

The two State of Origin representatives will likely be key for his or her respective aspects on Sunday. Upton’s pace and reinforce play is amazingly difficult to forestall whilst Baxter’s management and enjoy can lend a hand information the Roosters to victory.

Shenae Ciesiolka v Jessica Sergis

Ciesolka has proved to be probably the most destructive centres within the sport this yr, with 4 tries and 4 attempt assists to her title. For the Roosters, megastar recruit Sergis has proven glimpses of simply how bad she will also be and being a large sport participant, be expecting her to step it up a notch towards the Broncos.

Roosters centre Jessica Sergis. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
Roosters centre Jessica Sergis. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

SEMI-FINAL TEAM LISTS

DRAGONS v TITANS

Sunday, 12.00pm, Leichhardt Oval

DRAGONS

1. Emma Tonegato, 2. Teagan Berry, 3. Jaime Chapman, 4. Paige McGregor, 5. Madison Bartlett, 6. Taliah Fuimaono, 7. Rachael Pearson, 8. Elsie Albert, 9. Keeley Davis, 10. Kezie Apps, 11. Talei Holmes, 12. Shaylee Bent, 13. Holli Wheeler

Bench: 14. Quincy Dodd, 15. Kody House, 16. Tegan Dymock, 17. Janelle Williams

Reserves: 18. Renee Targett, 19. Keele Browne, 20. Shellie Long, 21. Aliti Namoce-Sagano, 22. Alexandra Sulusi, 23. Matilda Power, 24. Chantel Tugaga

TITANS

1. Jetaya Faifua, 2. Karina Brown, 3. Jasmine Peters, 4. Shaniah Power, 5. Hailee-Jay Maunsell, 6. Grace Griffin, 7. Kimiora Breayley-Nati, 8. Brianna Clark, 9. Brittany Breayley-Nati, 10. Stephanie Hancock, 11. Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, 12. Tazmin Gray, 13. Destiny Brill

Bench: 14. Georgia Hale, 15. Jessika Elliston, 16. Laikha Clarke, 19. April Ngatupuna

Reserves: 18. Cobie-Jane Morgan, 20. Karli Hansen, 21. Zara Canfield, 22. Evania Pelite, 23. Lauren Dam, 24. Lauren Moss

Emma Tonegato has been outstanding for the Dragons this season. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
Emma Tonegato has been remarkable for the Dragons this season. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

BRONCOS v ROOSTERS

Sunday, 1.45pm, Leichhardt Oval

BRONCOS

1. Tamika Upton, 2. Julia Robinson, 3. Amy Turner, 4. Shenae Ciesiolka, 5. Emily Bass, 6. Tarryn Aiken, 7. Ali Brigginshaw, 8. Millie Boyle, 9. Lauren Brown, 10. Chelsea Lenarduzzi, 11. Kaitlyn Phillips, 12. Amber Hall, 13. Lavinia Gould

Bench: 14. Hayley Maddick, 15. Tallisha Harden, 16. Roxette Murdoch, 17. Sara Sautia

Reserves: 18. Jada Ferguson, 19. Hagiga Mosby, 20. China Polata, 21. Toni Hunt, 22. Jessikah Reeves, 24. Lesa Kaleti Mata’afa

ROOSTERS

1. Corban Baxter, 2. Leianne Tufuga, 3. Jessica Sergis, 4. Isabelle Kelly, 5. Brydie Parker, 6. Zhara Temara, 7. Raecene McGregor, 8. Sarah Togatuki, 9. Olivia Higgins, 10. Mya Hill-Moana, 11. Yasmin Meakes, 12. Olivia Kernick, 13. Hannah Southwell

Bench: 14. Jocelyn Kelleher, 15. Keilee Joseph, 16. Tayla Predebon, 17. Simone Karpani

Reserves: 18. Joeli Morris, 19. Kalosipani Hopoate, 20. Lauretta Leao-Seve, 21. Otesa Pule, 22. Shawden Burton, 23. Taylor-Adeline Mapusua, 24. Taneka Todhunter

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