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NRLW Roosters season preview: New coach, new stars, new hope

A winless campaign in 2019 has the Sydney Roosters desperate to turn results around for a proud club that thrives on success.

One win in two years doesn't make for great reading if you're a Roosters supporter and that statistic won't change unless key players stand up and take some responsibility.

A third coach in as many years arrives at Bondi but this time it's one who brings a wealth of knowledge on the women's game and has the experience of coaching players who have gone on to perform at the highest level.

Jamie Feeney's signiing is pivotal for the club to bounce back from two disappointing campaigns and start putting in strong performances.

The Outlook

What's new

Jamie Feeney has already made his intentions clear by letting go more than half of last year's squad. In return, he's lured a host of rising stars including Kaitlyn Phillips, Jocelyn Kelleher and Yasmin Meakes.

The Roosters have also nabbed Wallaroos captain Grace Hamilton, who is expected to play in the middle following the retirements of Ruan Sims and Rebecca Young last season.

Week 1 - NRLW back for bumper third season

The draw

The Roosters will travel to Canberra early on Saturday morning for an 11.30am kick-off against the Dragons at GIO Stadium. The previous two clashes between the two NSW clubs have dictated who played the Broncos in the grand final, so meeting each other first-up will change things up. From there the Tricolours will either take on the Broncos or Warriors in the second week with times and location still yet to be determined.  

The stat that gives you hope

Corban McGregor and Botille Vette-Welsh are among the best kick-returners in the game. McGregor averaged 114 metres in 2019, while returning teammate Vette-Welsh was a standout for the Dragons last season to roll out 135.4 metres per game. Her ability to switch positions at any point in the game is a nightmare for any opposition. Add in Taleena Simon's return and the Roosters back five can provide plenty of go-forward.

The game-breaker

The arrival of Charlotte Caslick has already brought about huge attention and with that will only come further pressure if the Roosters start sluggishly this weekend. Her ability to bust the line in a rugby sevens match isn't underestimated, and if she finds space to move in the NRLW she'll add a whole other dynamic to a Roosters outfit desperate to find points. 

Corban McGregor sparks the Roosters during last year's clash with the Dragons.
Corban McGregor sparks the Roosters during last year's clash with the Dragons. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

The quote

"We know we weren't at our best last year but having someone like Jamie Feeney on board, who knows the women's game well and is a very honest operator, I think we've got enough players to do well. We're very determined to turn results around for such a successful and proud club." – Corban McGregor.

The Incomparables

Squad

Charlotte Caslick, Kennedy Cherrington, Quincy Dodd, Vanessa Foliaki, Grace Hamilton, Filomina Hanisi, Melanie Howard, Jocelyn Kelleher, Bobbi Law, Amelia Mafi, Nita Maynard, Corban McGregor, Yasmin Meakes, Brydie Parker, Shanice Parker, Kaitlyn Phillips, Taleena Simon, Zahara Temara, Simaima Taufa, Sarah Togatuki, Hannah Southwell, Botille Vette-Welsh

Tarsha Gale's prediction

Finish: 3rd

The Roosters, again, have a great team on paper and I expect them to do better than last year's campaign, but they won't be there on grand final day. New coach Jamie Feeney holds the key to unlocking the talent in this team because there is plenty of it, they just need to back themselves and believe that. Their forward pack led by Simaima Taufa, Hannah Southwell and a rejuvenated Vanessa Foliaki will need to lead the way if they're to have any chance of winning the title.