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NRLW Dragons v Roosters: Centres clash sizzles; Pressure on Sims and co

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. 

The Rundown

Team news

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.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Dragons is number 1 Botille Vette-Welsh
    Fullback for Roosters is number 1 Corban Baxter
  • Winger for Dragons is number 5 Shakiah Tungai
    Winger for Roosters is number 2 Karina Brown
  • Centre for Dragons is number 3 Jessica Sergis
    Centre for Roosters is number 3 Bobbi Law
  • Centre for Dragons is number 4 Tiana Penitani
    Centre for Roosters is number 4 Isabelle Kelly
  • Winger for Dragons is number 14 Rikeya Horne
    Winger for Roosters is number 18 Shanice Parker
  • Five-Eighth for Dragons is number 6 Keeley Davis
    Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Kirra Dibb
  • Halfback for Dragons is number 7 Maddie Studdon
    Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Melanie Howard


  • Prop for Dragons is number 8 Ngatokotoru Arakua
    Prop for Roosters is number 8 Ruan Sims
  • Hooker for Dragons is number 9 Brittany Breayley-Nati
    Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Nita Maynard
  • Prop for Dragons is number 10 Maitua Feterika
    Prop for Roosters is number 10 Aliti Namoce
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 11 Kezie Apps
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Tallisha Harden
  • 2nd Row for Dragons is number 12 Shaylee Bent
    2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Hannah Southwell
  • Lock for Dragons is number 13 Holli Wheeler
    Lock for Roosters is number 13 Zahara Temara


  • Interchange for Dragons is number 15 Takilele Katoa
    Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Quincy Dodd
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 16 Maddison Weatherall
    Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Jasmin Allende
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 17 Najvada George
    Interchange for Roosters is number 16 Vanessa Foliaki
  • Interchange for Dragons is number 19 Aaliyah Fasavalu-Fa'amausili
    Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Caitlan Johnston

Match Officials

  • Referee: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

Key match-up

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.

Stat Attack

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

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters 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 Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.