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Roosters Put in Spirited Performance in Season Opener

The Sydney Roosters have come away with a spirited performance against the Brisbane Broncos at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle to kick-start their 2021 campaign, going down 20-4. 

With a host of players making their long-awaited NRLW debuts, the Red, White and Blue did their chances of contending for the title no harm against the reigning Premiers, despite only having 40% of possession and defending their tryline for a majority of the match. 

While heavy rainfall affected New South Wales throughout the week, the Roosters and Broncos took the field on a dry track tailor-made for expansive football - coming up against one another nearly 500 days since their last meeting in the 2020 Grand Final. 

Stand-in captain Hannah Southwell and vice-captain Isabelle Kelly led from the front all match, centre Jess Sergis put in an inspiring performance in both attack and defence while front rower Sarah Togatuki had plenty of say with powerful charges from the backfield.  

Leianne Tufuga, Taylor-Adeline Mapusua, Olivia Higgins, Tayla Predebon, Olivia Kernick, Shawden Burton, Keilee Joseph and Simone Karpani all stood up in their debut match in the NRLW on a special day for the Club's pathways program. 

Receiving the ball to begin proceedings, the Roosters forwards laid the platform through powerful charges - with both sides showing early signs of nerves as they traded errors.

In The Sheds: Leianne Tufuga

With the Broncos attacking the line, Sergis looked to inspire her teammates with a punishing shot, however, a swing to the other side of the field saw Brisbane cross in the corner through Emily Bass, taking a 4-nil lead after six minutes. 

A catch under pressure from Brydie Parker and strong runs from centre pairing Kelly and Sergis attracted a penalty to put them in a position to hit back - and while rookie front rower Tayla Predebon looked to have scored, a late review saw her effort denied in a cruel call from the video referee. 

Not to be deterred, the near-miss proved to be a turning point in the side's confidence, and soon enough the Roosters were punching holes through the defence and punishing their opponents with bone-jarring hits from the likes of Olivia Kernick, Yasmin Meakes and Togatuki as they entered an arm-wrestle.  

Kernick Gets Roosters on Board

A ricocheting run from Parker coupled with silky ball-playing put the side back in the box seat, however, a one-on-one strip close to the line squandered another opportunity for the enthusiastic Roosters to score.

The Bondi Wall held firm on the opposite end of the field, highlighted by a number of remarkable try-saving efforts - but the sheer weight of possession saw the Broncos score under the posts through Roxette Murdoch. 

The Roosters continued to challenge their opponents with expansive pay and clever offloading while showing commitment in defence on their line to head into the sheds with a narrow 10-nil deficit.

It was a tough start to the second 35-minute period for the Red, White and Blue, with the bounce of the ball allowing the Broncos to take advantage of their mountain of possession with two quick-fire tries. 

In The Sheds: Olivia Kernick

Forced errors continued to cruel the side as they staked their claim for points, and after denying their opponents once again on the try line, Sergis burst through the line from the ensuing scrum in a big play from the Sky Blues Origin representative. 

Captain Southwell took matters into her own hands with a crunching shot on Broncos captain Ali Brigginshaw to force yet another turnover, and a scything run from backrower Olivia Kernick saw the Roosters on the board soon after. 

With momentum behind them and exhibiting free-flowing play, the Tricolours went close to scoring again through an aerial raid and a clean break from Kelly, but errors again proved to be costly - with the match finishing 20-4 in favour of the Broncos.

The Sydney Roosters will travel to WIN Stadium in Wollongong next Sunday to take on the Gold Coast Titans at 1:50pm. 


Sydney Roosters 4 (Olivia Kernick try) def by Brisbane Broncos 20 (Emily Bass 2, Roxette Murdoch, Millie Boyle tries; Lauren Brown 2 goals)

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.