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NRLW Broncos v Roosters: Broncos intact; Dibb dropped to bench

The grand final rematch promises to be a beauty as the NRL Holden Women's Premiership heads to Melbourne's AAMI Park for a second consecutive week after the Storm suffered a shock loss in week one of the NRL finals. 

The Broncos got their NRLW title defence off to a flying start against the Dragons, while the Roosters are suddenly desperate to bounce back and keep their grand final hopes alive after the Warriors proved too good 16-12 in the opening round. 

Brisbane remain undefeated since the NRLW started last year but can the Roosters finally find their groove and hand them their first-ever loss?

The Rundown

Team news

Broncos: The Broncos will line up 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Winger Julia Robinson returns from a leg injury and takes over from Tamika Upton, who hobbled from the field against the Dragons with a lower leg injury, while Chelsea Lenarduzzi is back from an ankle injury. Upton and Heather Ballinger were the last players cut before kick-off, while Jessika Elliston and Rosemary Vaimili Toalepai were trimmed from the reserves on Friday.

Roosters: Zahara Tamara has been promoted to the starting side at the expense of five-eighth Kirra Dibb, who drops back to the bench. NSW Country representative Simone Smith replaces Mel Howard in the halves, with backrower Hannah Southwell cleared to play despite failing to finish last week's match (concussion). Bobbi Law and Jasmin Allende were the last players omitted prior to kick-off, while Shanice Parker and Quincy Dodd were trimmed from the reserves on Friday.

Key match-up

Two standout performers in round one will go head-to-head with Simaima Taufa and Rona Peters expected to lock horns. Taufa was the Roosters' best forward with two tries in a solid effort in a losing side. Peters set the tone and helped guide the young Broncos pack with some bruising tackles against the Dragons. Both will lead but they'll need their teammates to follow.

For the Broncos to win

Their forward pack did a job against the Dragons, and were backed up well by halves Ali Brigginshaw and Raecene McGregor. A similar notion will need to apply against the Roosters, who continue to work towards a complete performance.  

For the Roosters to win

They'll need to fix up their final-tackle options and chance their hand when they can. The Tricolours seemed a bit complacent last start given their minimal time together. With a game under their belt they need to find their strike players – like Isabelle Kelly – much earlier. Tallisha Harden and Mel Howard developed a nice combination as the game went on. Harden could play a big role against her former side on the edge.

Tarsha Gale says ...

The Broncos will win this battle. The Roosters didn’t live up to expectations last week and looked clunky in attack. If Simaima Taufa doesn't receive the support she needs from her forward pack the Broncos will be allowed dominate the middle. This will give Ali Brigginshaw the opportunity to do what she does best and orchestrate her team to another victory. Broncos by 8

Stat Attack

The Roosters' back five were enormous for the side in coming out of yardage, with an average of 122 metres per player. But their forward pack failed to register similar numbers in the middle, and that left the halves to struggle for any space around the ruck. Brisbane were far better at sharing the workload around and their outside backs were rewarded late in the clash.

And another thing ...

The Broncos will field 10 players from their 2018 grand final side, while the the Roosters will only have seven from last year's squad A total of 20 from the 34 players named represented either NSW or Queensland in the women's Holden State of Origin in June.