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The Dragons and Eels both savoured the sweet taste of success in round one and will head to WIN Stadium full of confidence on Sunday.

For Jamie Soward's Dragons the opening 50 minutes was worth bottling but they'll need to address the defensive lapses that allowed the Titans back into the match with two tries in eight minutes.

The battle of the halves promises to be a beauty with Rachael Pearson coming off a superb debut for the Dragons up against the experienced Maddie Studdon, whose last-minute field goal got the Eels home in a thriller.

Both sides will be out to improve their completion rates and show more respect for possession - the Dragons going at 67 per cent with 25/37 and the Eels 63 per cent with 21/33.

The Rundown

Team news

Dragons: In a triple blow, captain Kezie Apps (hand), centre Jaime Chapman (concussion) and Talei Holmes (wrist) are all out with Ulladulla product Keele Browne and former Australian gridiron player Renee Targett called in to make their NRLW debut. Coach Jamie Soward has also recalled Aliti Namoce with the former Rooster to play her first NRLW game in over three years. 

Keeley Davis will move to lock, shifting Holli Wheeler to the back row with Quincy Dodd to start at hooker. 

Eels: Therese Aiton (cheekbone) has been ruled out despite being cleared of a fracture following her graphic facial injury last week. Tarsha Gale Cup product Christian Pio moves into the starting side with Ellie Johnston back to the bench and Jade Etherden 18th player.

Match-winner Maddie Studdon again calls the shots in the halves alongside Fijian youngster Sereana Naitokatoka while Botille Vette-Welsh and Rikeya Horne provide impetus from the back.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Emma Tonegato
    Fullback for Eels is number 1 Botille Vette-Welsh
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Teagan Berry
    Winger for Eels is number 2 Taina Naividi
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Page McGregor
    Centre for Eels is number 3 Tiana Penitani
  • Centre for Dragons is number 19 Keele Browne
    Centre for Eels is number 4 Jocephy Daniels
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Madison Bartlett
    Winger for Eels is number 5 Rikeya Horne
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Taliah Fuimaono
    Five-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Sereana Naitokatoka
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Rachael Pearson
    Halfback for Eels is number 7 Maddie Studdon


  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Elsie Albert
    Prop for Eels is number 8 Kennedy Cherrington
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 14 Quincy Dodd
    Hooker for Eels is number 9 Nita Maynard
  • Prop for Dragons is number 21 Aliti Namoce
    Prop for Eels is number 10 Tommaya Kelly-Sines
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Shaylee Bent
    2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Christian Pio
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 13 Holli Wheeler
    2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Jamie-Anne Wright
  • Lock for Dragons is number 9 Keeley Davis
    Lock for Eels is number 13 Simaima Taufa


  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Kody House
    Interchange for Eels is number 14 Seli Mailangi
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Tegan Dymock
    Interchange for Eels is number 15 Abbi Church
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Janelle Williams
    Interchange for Eels is number 17 Filomina Hanisi
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Renee Targett
    Interchange for Eels is number 20 Ellie Johnston


  • Reserve for Dragons is number 20 Shellie Long
    Reserve for Eels is number 18 Jade Etherden

Match Officials

  • Referee: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Alan Shortall

Last updated:

Key match-up

Emma Tonegato v Botille Vette-Welsh: Two of the absolute standouts of the opening round square off and their performances will go a long way to deciding the outcome. Tonegato barely skipped a beat in her return to rugby league after a hugely successful rugby sevens stint while Vette-Welsh carved out 178 metres and four tackle breaks in a dynamic display for the competition newcomers. 

Stat attack

Simaima Taufa's tally of 44 tackles was the most by any player in round one and her resolute defence will again be crucial to the Eels' chances. Taufa was ably supported by Kennedy Cherrington (33 tackles) and Tommaya Kelly-Sines (25) as Parra scrambled their way to a morale-boosting win. "Simaima was enormous out there today ... at the toughest of times on the field she came up with the biggest of plays," coach Dean Widders said.

Acknowledgement of Country

St George Illawarra Dragons respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders peoples, where our games are played, our programs are conducted and in the communities we support.

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