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Roosters Complete Almighty Comeback to Reach NRLW Decider

The Sydney Roosters have booked a place in the 2021 NRLW Grand Final after upsetting reigning premiers the Brisbane Broncos at Leichhardt Oval in an emphatic 22-16 victory. 

In the competition's first semi-finals series, the Roosters upset the highly-favoured Broncos in a boilover that saw them overcome a 16-nil deficit after fifteen minutes with only twelve players on the field in arguably one of the greatest comebacks in Club history. 

The Tricolours will now face the St George Illawarra Dragons in next week's Grand Final at Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe in what will be the Club's third NRLW decider. 

The sides were greeted to perfect conditions for Rugby League at Leichhardt Oval on a picturesque afternoon, but the Roosters suffered an early blow after an error from a fifth-tackle bomb handed their opponents first shot at scoring.

Captain Corban Baxter was quick to react to an attacking grubber kick, grounding the Steeden in the in goal, and the Bondi Wall held up in its first test of the afternoon, with the defence forcing a forward pass on the line. 

The enthusiastic Tricolours looked to get the ball rolling, but an error in the ruck gave the Broncos possession 30 metres out, and soon the scoring opened with Amber Hall taking advantage. 

A penalty on the ensuing set added further pressure, and Brisbane capitalised to take a 10-nil lead after twelve minutes with Julia Robinson crossing in the corner. 

Kelly Gets One Back

The task at hand became harder for the Red, White and Blue as a professional foul saw the side down to twelve players, and the Broncos added to the scoresheet with Millie Boyle crashing over next to the posts. 

Five-eighth Zahara Temara deceived the opposition to regain possession with a well-timed strip, and the Roosters were in position to reply - only for the final pass to go to ground. 

Not to be deterred, Jessica Sergis emulated her five-eighth with a clever steal of her own, and soon enough the left side combined with Raecene McGregor sending Isabelle Kelly over following an exciting passage of play.

Hannah Southwell's sideline attempt fell agonisingly short, with the Roosters closing the deficit to two converted tries with less than fifteen minutes remaining in the first half.

The headgear-clad lock looked to inspire her side with a trademark tackle that got the Leichhardt crowd on its feet, and with Kelly streaking downfield soon after, the momentum had truly swung in favour of the Roosters. 

Defensive pressure saw the Broncos kick out on the full, and while it was another case of falling short as Olivia Kernick was stopped inches from the line, the Roosters were in control and with newfound confidence. 

Now back to thirteen on the field, the Tricolours continued to punch holes through the defence with the likes of young forwards Mya Hill-Moana, Tayla Predebon and Keilee Joseph leading the way - and a deft grubber from Temara saw the Roosters with another shot at scoring with halftime looming.

Tufuga Gets the Roosters Back In

Easts took their next opportunity with both hands as a bullet-like cutout pass saw rookie winger Leianne Tufuga cross for her second try of the season, and with Temara's successful conversion, the deficit was down to six as the sides headed to the sheds.

Keilee Joseph Gets the Roosters Level

The Roosters resumed proceedings by getting over halfway in their opening set, with the Roosters faithful in full cheer as the side sent an early warning shot with a left-side shift that saw Baxter, Temara, Kelly and Parker combine. 

Tufuga caused plenty of havoc on the edges as they continued to roll downfield, but early execution was lacking and an unfortunate touch handed the Broncos six more tackles on the line before a line drop out was forced. 

The resilient Bondi Wall wasn't letting up any time soon, and defensive pressure forced an error on the line in a strong showing of commitment as the sides entered an arm wrestle heading into the final 25 minutes of the contest.

Olivia Kernick bravely diffused a threatening grubber kick, before the Red, White and Blue got back to work with ball in hand, and a Temara bomb saw a fumble 20 metres from the line with the crowd up again.

Baxter and Sergis looked to send Tufuga over in the corner, but the young winger was denied as she lost possession on her way to the line - however back-to-back penalties soon put the Roosters back in opposition territory. 

A barnstorming effort from Keilee Joseph saw the young forward reach out to score next to the posts - and all of a sudden the scores were level with seventeen minutes remaining following Temara's conversion.

Soon enough the Tricolours were in striking distance again as McGregor burst through the line in search of the lead, and another pinpoint kick from Temara saw a line drop out forced with the final ten minutes looming. 

Bench utility Jocelyn Kelleher took it upon herself to come up with the match-winning try, darting over from dummy-half to give her side the lead for the first time, with the ensuing conversion giving the Roosters a 22-16 lead heading into the last ten minutes.

Kelleher Completes Comeback

In a tense final period with everything to play for, both sides searched for an opening as the Tricolours looked to land the final blow with another Broncos kick going out on the full.

Sergis then pulled off one of the plays of the game, shutting down a raid and stripping the ball in the process, while Brydie Parker sealed the result as she took her opposite into touch with a crunching tackle as the Roosters booked their spot in the 2021 NRLW Grand Final.

Roosters Fly Into Grand Final


Sydney Roosters 22 (Isabelle Kelly, Leianne Tufuga, Keilee Joseph, Jocelyn Kellher tries; Zahara Temara 2 goals) def Brisbane Broncos 16 (Amber Hall, Julia Robinson, 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.