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A chance to become just the second club in history to be engraved on the prestigious NRL Telstra Women's Premiership trophy awaits for the Dragons and Roosters in Sunday's grand final in Redcliffe.

Both sides have remarkably defied the odds throughout the season to reach the decider at Moreton Daily Stadium with the Dragons not considered a finals side before a ball was kicked while the Roosters scraped their way into the top four.

The Tricolours rode their luck and relied on other results to go their way in the regular season before cashing in when it counted against the Broncos last week with a thrilling victory. 

Their 2-3 record in the regular rounds didn't set the world on fire but they've begun to click at the right time of the campaign.

The Dragons have been relatively consistent throughout their journey, notching up five wins from six attempts under coach Jamie Soward, who has instilled a belief in the side that will have them prepared on grand final day.

Soward's side escaped with a 16-10 victory over the Tricolours in the final round of the regular season last month and will be on alert for a Roosters side who will be brimming with confidence leading into the decider.

The Dragons and Roosters have met on four occasions since 2018 for a 2-2 record. It is the first time they'll play each other in a grand final.

The Roosters have four former Dragons in their side with Jess Sergis, Isabelle Kelly, Raecene McGregor and Hannah Southwell all playing for the Red V previously.

St George Illawarra have one former Rooster in NSW hooker Quincy Dodd. 

Both clubs have played on NRLW grand final day previously but suffered harrowing defeats to the Brisbane Broncos.

The Roosters were beaten twice in the deciders in 2018 and 2020 while the Dragons were comprehensively defeated in 2019.

Four players remain from the Roosters' 2018 grand final team - Brydie Parker, Isabelle Kelly, Sarah Togatuki and Zahara Temara, while seven remain from the 2020 decider.

Only four players are left from the 2019 Dragons side that were beaten by the Broncos on grand final day - Kezie Apps, Keeley Davis, Shaylee Bent and Holli Wheeler.

Team news

Dragons: Kody House has been shifted back to the bench an hour before kick-off and Talei Holmes will start in the back row. Tegan Dymock (hand) and Janelle Williams drop off the bench with Keele Browne and Renee Targett coming into the 17. Aliti Namoce is18th player.

Roosters: The Roosters are 1-17 with no late changes.

Prop Sarah Togatuki is free to play after successfully gaining a downgrade for a careless high tackle on Broncos lock Lavinia Gould. Olivia Higgins picked up an ankle injury on Sunday but is right to take her place at hooker. Joeli Morris is 18th player.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Emma Tonegato
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 Corban Baxter
  • Winger for Dragons is number 2 Teagan Berry
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Leianne Tufuga
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jaime Chapman
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Jessica Sergis
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Page McGregor
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Isabelle Kelly
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Madison Bartlett
    Winger for Roosters is number 5 Brydie Parker
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Taliah Fuimaono
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Zahara Temara
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Rachael Pearson
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Raecene McGregor

Forwards

  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Elsie Albert
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Sarah Togatuki
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Keeley Davis
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Olivia Higgins
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Kezie Apps
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Mya Hill-Moana
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Talei Holmes
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Yasmin Meakes
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Shaylee Bent
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Olivia Kernick
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Holli Wheeler
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Hannah Southwell

Interchange

  • Interchange for Dragons is number 14 Quincy Dodd
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Jocelyn Kelleher
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Kody House
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Keilee Joseph
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 18 Renee Targett
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Tayla Predebon
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 19 Keele Browne
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Simone Karpani

Reserves

  • Replacement for Dragons is number 21 Aliti Namoce-Sagano
  • Reserve for Roosters is number 18 Joeli Morris

Match Officials

  • Referee: Belinda Sharpe
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Matt Noyen

Last updated:

Key match-up

Emma Tonegato v Corban Baxter: The battle of the fullbacks is one of many but could possibly be the most important in deciding Sunday's winner. Tonegato has been the form player of the competition with her kick returns and yardage around the middle a constant threat. Baxter produced one of her finest performances at the back in last week's win over the Broncos and if she too can get the side on the front foot early in sets, the Roosters showed last week with momentum they are hard to stop.

Stat attack

The Roosters and Dragons sit in the top two for post-contact metres in a sign yardage won't be a problem for either side, particularly around the middle and on the edges. Elsie Albert (357m), Isabelle Kelly (344m) and Shaylee Bent (287m) dominate in this field of attack while the Roosters lead the competition for kick return metres overall. Since Corban Baxter has returned she's notched up 212 kick return metres, the same as Emma Tonegato who has played two extra games. The Dragons back five (average of 6196m versus 5591m), halves (average of 6384m versus 4472m) and props (average of 3887m versus 3251m) cover between 10.3% and 35.2% more distance across a match than the Roosters. 

And another thing...

In the second half of last week’s semi-final, Roosters halves Zahara Temara and Raecene McGregor played at an intensity that was 8.7% higher than their average per match half intensity (average of 72.9 m/min versus 66.8 m/min).

The halves also covered 46.9% more distance at a speed above 17.5 km/h than their average per half high speed distance (average of 94m versus 58m).

 

Be front and centre as our Grand Final teams battle it out to lift the premiership trophy! Tickets start from just $15 for adults. Juniors aged 15yrs and under can enter FREE with a paying adult. Secure your seat at nrl.com/tickets.

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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