NRLW 2022: Dragons to face Roosters in decider after edging out fast-finishing Titans

Cellar dwellers in 2020, the Dragons are actually only one win clear of the NRLW identify after the brilliance of Kezie Apps and Emma Tonegato, in addition to a stout defence, noticed off the Titans.

St George-Illawarra received their NRLW semi-final in opposition to festival beginners 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 overdue Titans’ surge, with two tries within the last 5 mins, closed the space to 6, however in spite of the sudden nerves, the Dragons improved 24-18.

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

Under vivid, sunny skies, 40-year-old veteran and 20-Test Jillaroos nice Stephanie Hancock stormed over the road to publish the outlet issues, appearing some fleet of foot that belied her age, adopted by way of 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 ultimate week’s head knock by way of scoring the victors’ 3rd, and in live performance along with her facet’s defiant defence, the goalkicking of halfback Rachael Pearson ensured the ratings didn’t get nearer than they want be, kicking 3 from 4.


Australian Olympic gold medallist and famous person again Evania Pelite was once a overdue inclusion within the centres for the Titans after an ankle harm solid actual doubt over her involvement all through the week.

The 26-year-old former Rugby Sevens participant had performed lots 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 hassle inappropriate. Fellow Rio 2016 Sevens gold medallist, opposing No. 1 Tonegato, popping out on best.


A former NRL part and 2010 premiership winner, Jamie Soward signed because the Dragons’ NRLW trainer in October 2021 and has taken his facet, who have 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 had been thrilled to look his crew handle the defence he has emphasized all season.

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


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 adorned 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 facet this weekend in an enormous spice up to Brisbane’s premiership probabilities.

The 25-year-old has been pressured 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 in opposition to the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Upton lit the contest alight within the early rounds of the season along with her blistering tempo and enhance play prior to a head knock with Dragons centre Keele Browne in around 3 after which a favorable Covid end result dominated her out for the remainder of the common season.

The Brisbane No.1 admitted it were difficult to look at her teammates whilst she sat in isolation – or from the sideline – however it gave her a contemporary point of view at the recreation 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.

“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.”


Upton’s go back is about 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.”

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 had been ready to hide their spots in a transparent indication of the power in their taking part in 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 recognition as the most efficient defensive crew within the NRLW to power them to a step forward premiership.

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

Soward’s facet have been denied the minor premiership by way of issues differential, on the other hand they are able to nonetheless lay declare to being the most efficient defensive crew 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.

“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 easiest 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 approach of their round-one conflict off the again of an inspirational show from celebrity 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 ultimate 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.”



Kezie Apps v Steph Hancock

Two of probably the most skilled forwards within the girls’s recreation are proceeding to dominate the contest, so be expecting fireworks after 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 method to two the most important tries in two separate suits.

Emma Tonegato v Jetaya Faifua

Olympic gold medallist Tonegato has been probably the most standouts of the NRLW season to this point. Her blistering velocity and take on busting talent 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 velocity to rival Tonegato’s. Pelite was once the celebrity within the first assembly between those two facets.


Tamika Upton v Corban Baxter

The two State of Origin representatives will probably be key for his or her respective facets on Sunday. Upton’s velocity and enhance play is amazingly difficult to prevent whilst Baxter’s management and enjoy can assist information the Roosters to victory.

Shenae Ciesiolka v Jessica Sergis

Ciesolka has proved to be one of the vital harmful centres within the recreation this yr, with 4 tries and 4 attempt assists to her identify. For the Roosters, celebrity recruit Sergis has proven glimpses of simply how bad she may also be and being a large recreation participant, be expecting her to step it up a notch in opposition to the Broncos.



Sunday, 12.00pm, Leichhardt Oval


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


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


Sunday, 1.45pm, Leichhardt Oval


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


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

Originally printed as NRLW 2022: Dragons to stand Roosters in decider after edging out fast-finishing Titans

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