The Sydney Roosters’ Tarsha Gale Cup U19 Women's team will be playing for the title this Saturday after advancing through to the Grand Final with a convincing win against Illawarra Steelers.
A superb defensive effort from Blake Cavallaro’s team had the Bondi Wall up for the entire game on Saturday, with Illawarra’s only try coming in the final minutes of the Tricolour’s 22-4 win at HE Laybutt Field in Blacktown.
Roosters winger Charlize Lloyd-Phillips delivered a fantastic first half, scoring two tries to get her team on the scoreboard, and centre Ruby Smith crossed the line to give the Roosters a 12-0 lead at half-time.
The try before half-time gave the Roosters a huge boost, taking momentum into the second half as Zoe Cass scored a try in the opening minute, and Keilee Joseph put the game out of the Steelers’ reach with 20 minutes remaining with the team’s fifth and final try of the game.
The Roosters will take on St George Dragons in the Tarsha Gale Cup grand final this Saturday, with the game kicking off at 11:00am at Leichhardt Oval.
Both teams had to win in both weeks of the finals to advance to the grand final, and also played each other in the first week of trials to prepare for this season.
The Roosters’ SG Ball fought until the end but were unable to contain Illawarra’s attack in their 32-42 Semi-Final loss against the Steelers on Saturday.
Kyron Fekitoa scored the opening try of the game in the seventh minute to give the Roosters the lead, but the Steelers scored four converted tries in the space of 20 minutes to gain a 20-point lead.
The Roosters scored a late try through Jordan Swann just before half-time, giving the team a sniff. A second try from Fekitoa and Corey Ross crossing with 25 minutes remaining helped the Roosters get within two points.
Illawarra then managed to swing the game back their way with three converted tries to put the margin back to 20 with just minutes remaining. To the credit of the young Roosters, they kept playing hard and late tries to Ethan King and Fetikoa completing his hat-trick making the Steelers earn their ticket to the grand final.
Despite the result, it has been a great season for the SG Ball squad. The team won the Minor Premiership after finishing on top of the ladder at the end of the regular season.
A number of the SG Ball players got invaluable experience training with the NRL squad during pre-season in the lead up to Christmas and were involved in the Roosters NRL trial win against Wests Tigers.
TARSHA GALE CUP
Sydney Roosters 22 (Charlize Lloyd-Phillips 2, Ruby Smith, Zoe Cass, Keilee Joseph tries; Ruby Smith 1 goal) def Illawarra Steelers 4
SG BALL CUP
Sydney Roosters 32 (Kyron Fekitoa 3, Jordan Swann, Corey Ross, Ethan King tries; Sandon Smith 4 goals) def by Illawarra Steelers 42