St George Illawarra Dragons and Sydney Roosters face off in a final-round clash at Leichhardt Oval that could dictate the final placings ahead of the 2019 Holden Women's Premiership grand final.
While all eyes will be on the Broncos-Warriors result a night earlier, a Broncos victory will leave the Dragons and Roosters battling it out for a spot in the decider.
If the Warriors defeat the Broncos then only the Dragons can advance on for-and-against with a victory over the Tricolours.
The Roosters are in a similar position to last season, where they relied on results to go their way before finally clicking into gear in the final round and advancing on points differential.
A stand-alone fixture between two traditional clubs sets up the perfect opportunity to let the regular season run its course and bring the second NRLW season to a grandstand finish.
Dragons: No surprises from the Dragons at this stage. Stephanie Mooka returns on the wing, shifting Rikeya Horne to the bench but expect a change there before kick-off. Keeley Davis remains in the halves alongside Maddie Studdon with Kimiora Nati out through illness. Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa'amausili moves back to an extended bench. Sarah Togatuki was trimmed from the reserves on Saturday.
Roosters: A host of changes for the Tricolours in the wake of last week’s 20-0 loss to the Broncos. Shanice Parker is a late inclusion on the wing for Kiana Takairangi while Rebecca Young dropped off the reserves list an hour before kick-off. Simaima Taufa (head knock) is out with Zahara Temara taking over at lock. Shontelle Stowers, Rebecca Young and Simone Smith have been left out of the 17 with Bobbi Law, Jasmin Allende and Quincy Dodd in line for their NRLW debuts. Mel Howard returns in the halves alongside Kirra Dibb, who is back in the starting side after she came from the bench last week. Stowers and Smith were cut from the reserves 24 hours prior to kick-off.
A mouth-watering clash looms between incumbent NSW centres Jess Sergis and Isabelle Kelly. Two of the rising stars of the women's game, Sergis and Kelly have been massive contributors in the opening two games and will play key roles again at the iconic Leichhardt Oval on Sunday. Sergis had 14 carries against the Warriors, while Kelly had 11 runs in a badly beaten Roosters outfit last start.
For the Dragons to win
Like last week but holding the ball and completing their sets will go a long way. The Dragons could've become frustrated after bombing first-half chances against the Warriors but held their nerve and clicked into gear. If they can hold the Roosters in the opening 40 minutes their final third should be too strong with the calibre of players at their disposal.
Match Highlights: Broncos v Roosters
For the Roosters to win
They need more from their forwards, particularly experienced prop Ruan Sims and who has struggled to make an impact. Sims (two runs for 14 metres) and Foliaki (three runs for 21 metres) were well held by the Broncos and will need to turn things around. In 120 minutes of footy so far, Sims, Young, Vanessa Foliaki and Aliti Nomace have managed just 29 runs collectively. That output needs to increase significantly if last year's grand finalists are to match motors with the powerful Dragons pack and give their backs a chance to shine in open space.
The Dragons and Roosters are dominating the area of second-phase play with offloads. Dragons pair Tiana Penitani and Kezie Apps lead the competition with four apiece, while Roosters trio Hannah Southwell, Karina Brown and Kirra Dibb are among the top six with two each.
And another thing ...
A total of 15 players who represented NSW in women's Holden State of Origin will clash on Sunday. The Roosters will field seven from the successful Blues side, while the Dragons have eight players in their line-up. Retired hooker Kylie Hilder and Millie Boyle (Broncos) are the only two players missing.
Tarsha Gale says ...
The Roosters forward pack needs to step up and hold the middle in order for their classy backline to have a chance to shine. The Dragons have turned the corner from being a 'team of champions' to a 'champion team' and I can't see them losing this one if they click into gear as last week. Dragons by 12