You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Weather No Matter for Roosters as NRLW Begins

The torrential weather that has affected New South Wales over the last week is no matter for NRLW Head Coach John Strange, as he looks to celebrate the arrival of a number of debutants in the side's first match of the 2021 competition.

Ahead of the Round 1 clash against the Brisbane Broncos tomorrow at McDonald Jones Stadium, Strange says that the buzz around camp has been infectious. 

After all, a number of players have had to wait nearly 500 days to pull on the boots and don the Red, White and Blue again.

“It’s been really good, we’ve had a bit of rain but the bonus of that is that it’s predicted rain tomorrow,” Strange said.

“We couldn’t have asked for a better preparation in those regards. They’re very excited. You can train as much as you can but until you actually get out there, it’s different.

“I noticed a change in our first session this week on Tuesday; there was a real excitement, a real buzz amongst the girls and you can tell it’s game week.

“We’re all looking forward to it, and for me, I’m just looking forward to the girls to be out there and playing some footy as well, it’s been a while.”

NRLW Coach's Media Round 1

A major highlight for the Roosters' mentor will be the opportunity to hand a number of players their first NRLW jersey - many of whom he has coached in the Central Coast Roosters team in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership.

One such player is enthusiastic forward Keilee Joseph, who will create history by becoming the first player to graduate through a single club's Tarsha Gale Cup, Harvey Norman Women's Premiership and NRLW sides. 

“Olivia Higgins is our starting hooker and it’s an NRLW debut for her,” he confirmed.

“She’s a calm player, she’s got a really good head on her shoulders and carried that out through the week.

“Olivia Kernick in the back row was in the development squad last year, so she has been around the girls and the environment. I don’t think too much fazes Liv anyway.

“Shawden Burton is another one, coming off the bench. She’s a little bit nervous but excited. She can’t wait to get going.

“Keilee has been in our pathways system for over three years now. She played two years of Tarsha Gale and in the Harvey Norman competition and was in the development squad in the NRLW.

“She’s jumped into the seventeen and she’ll be playing tomorrow. I spoke to her and her parents as well, I don’t think they should underestimate how special this is. She’s the first girl to do that in Rugby League and there will never be a first again.

“No matter what happens in the future, she’ll always be the first player to do it. I think it’s incredibly special, and I can’t wait to see her out there.”

We’re all looking forward to it, and for me, I’m just looking forward to the girls to be out there and playing some footy as well, it’s been a while

John Strange Sydney Roosters Head Coach

Despite needing to jump through a number of major loops through the pre-season, one thing that has kept Strange confident in his side's ambitions is the already existing connections between the players in his Central Coast Roosters side - which he believes will be a major benefit. 

He also brought mention of some of the senior players he has at his disposal, including the likes of Hannah Southwell, Sarah Togatuki, Yasmin Meakes and new arrival Jess Sergis - who will fulfil a lifelong dream of pulling on a Roosters jersey on Sunday afternoon.

Strange Excited to see Joseph Create History

“Out of the squad of 24 we’ve had twelve players come from the Central Coast side," he explained. 

"To come in with a short pre-season, and without any trials and having that combinations early has made it really effective for us to get into our groove – maybe a little quicker than the other teams. It’s been outstanding for us.

“Hannah Southwell has played every season of NRLW so she has a lot of experience and she’s leading the training sessions. Sarah, she’s just a ball of energy and brings that everywhere she goes You’ve got Yassy as one of the more mature players in our squad and she’s been leading as well.

“It’s exciting to have Jess – obviously she’s been at the Dragons since 2018 as we all know grew up a Roosters supporter. She can’t wait.

"I’ve never seen anyone more excited to put on a Roosters jersey. It’s going to be a real buzz for her and her family and friends to come out at 1:50pm to put on a Roosters jersey.”

Strange also said that the blockbuster triple header tomorrow will not only be a win for the Women's game, but also a win for Rugby League fans who have been itching to see some of the code's best players come together. 

“The fact they’re doing triple headers for most rounds is great for the fans,” he stated.

“We’ve got two weeks until the NRL starts, so it’s an opportunity for Rugby League fans to get out and watch three quality games.

“Wet conditions are going to be there tomorrow, but I don’t think too many teams will be holding back. They’ll be wanting to play some good, exciting football and I know we are."

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.