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The Roosters Crow: Opening Round Grand Final Rematch

The NRLW is finally back, and what better way for the Sydney Roosters to kick-off the new season than with a Grand Final rematch? 

Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Brisbane Broncos

Since the NRLW's inception, the Roosters and Broncos have built a fierce rivalry as two of the premier teams of the competition - competing against one another in two of the three Grand Finals staged thus far. 

In the last meeting, the Tricolours were brave in a 20-10 defeat in the 2020 decider, with a number of players retained from that same side who will take the field this Sunday afternoon - and they will be looking to make amends with a big win against the Broncos. 

Although the Red, White and Blue have yet to get over their more fancied opponents, the opening match of the 2021 season looms as an opportunity to make a statement against the reigning Premiers. 

NRLW Rewind: The Best of the Roosters So Far

How They Line Up

With the competition expanding to six teams in 2021, both sides have had a number of ins and outs in their respective squads, with Head Coach John Strange naming a side filled with representative experience and youthful exuberance. 

After originally being named, Captain Corban Baxter and bench forward Samantha Economos have been omitted, with Brydie Parker taking Baxter's spot at fullback, while Taylor-Adeline Mapusua comes in to make her NRLW debut on the wing alongside Leianne Tufuga. 

Jessica Sergis will make her much-anticipated Roosters debut in the centres alongside the returning Isabelle Kelly, while Zahara Temara and Jocelyn Kelleher partner up in the halves to round off a classy backline.

Sarah Togatuki moves up into the front row alongside Tayla Predebon with Olivia Higgins making her NRLW debut at hooker. The back row consists of Yasmin Meakes and Māori All Star Olivia Kernick, while seasoned campaigner Hannah Southwell locks up the scrum.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Roosters is number 5 Brydie Parker
    Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Tamika Upton
  • Winger for Roosters is number 2 Leianne Tufuga
    Winger for Broncos is number 2 Julia Robinson
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Jessica Sergis
    Centre for Broncos is number 3 Amy Turner
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Isabelle Kelly
    Centre for Broncos is number 4 Shenae Ciesiolka
  • Winger for Roosters is number 24 Taylor Mapusua
    Winger for Broncos is number 5 Emily Bass
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Zahara Temara
    Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Tarryn Aiken
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Jocelyn Kelleher
    Halfback for Broncos is number 7 Ali Brigginshaw


  • Prop for Roosters is number 8 Sarah Togatuki
    Prop for Broncos is number 8 Millie Boyle
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Olivia Higgins
    Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Lauren Brown
  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Tayla Predebon
    Prop for Broncos is number 10 Chelsea Lenarduzzi
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Yasmin Clydsdale
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Tallisha Harden
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Olivia Kernick
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Amber Hall
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Hannah Southwell
    Lock for Broncos is number 13 Nakita Sao


  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Shawden Burton
    Interchange for Broncos is number 14 Jada Ferguson
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Keilee Joseph
    Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Kaitlyn Phillips
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Simone Karpani
    Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Roxy Murdoch
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 18 Raecene McGregor
    Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Sara Sautia


  • Reserve for Roosters is number 19 Joeli Morris
    Reserve for Broncos is number 18 Hayley Maddick

Match Officials

  • Referee: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Chris Butler

Last updated:

Rookie trio Shawden Burton, Keilee Joseph and Simone Karpani have been named on the bench alongside the squad's newest addition in Raecene McGregor.

Joeli Morris has been named as the 18th player, while Lauretta Leao-Seve and Mya Hill-Moana make up the extended bench. 

The Brisbane Broncos have named a lineup featuring the likes of NRLW veterans in Amber Hall, Millie Boyle, Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Tallisha Harden, Tamika Upton, Tarryn Aiken, Julia Robinson and captain Ali Brigginshaw - so the Red, White and Blue will certainly have a fight on their hands. 

Key Match Up: Zahara Temara vs Ali Brigginshaw

Despite a number of personal clashes across the park expected on Sunday, it's the battle of two of the game's best playmakers that will have a massive bearing on the final result. 

Zahara Temara returns for a fourth consecutive season in the Red, White and Blue, having successfully made a transition from lock to nailing down a position in the halves over the past few seasons - and has revelled with more time with ball in hand. 

Zahara: "I'm Excited to See What We Can Do"

Ironically her opponent in Ali Briggingshaw - the most experienced and revered playmaker in the competition - has done the exact opposite to accommodate the younger halves contingent at the Broncos - but will return to the no.7 jersey on Sunday. 

Both players share their appearance record in the top grade for their respective clubs (Temara with 11 matches and Brigginshaw with 12) and despite an eight-year age gap between the pair - both possess the on-field guidance that will be required to steer their side to victory, so keep an eye on the no.6 and no.7. 

What They Said

“I can’t wait to verse them. We’ve versed them in two Grand Finals now and both we’ve lost. I’m very excited and I know the girls are too." - Zahara Temara

“Being back here, it feels like home, and I’m really excited with the squad we’ve got. I’ve had a really great career of ticking boxes with World Cups and Origins but I’ve never been able to get the NRLW." - Isabelle Kelly

Your Verdict

It's a first-up challenge for the Roosters this week - and taking on the competition's reigning Premiers following a long period off is no easy feat, but the Tricolours will be primed to not only start their campaign to a winning start under new coach John Strange but to also get a historic win over Broncos. 

Be sure to grab your tickets here, cheer on the mighty Roosters at McDonald Jones Stadium this Sunday, and enjoy a family-friendly kick-off time of 1:50pm as the competition starts with a bang with a triple header. 


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.