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“Welcome home.”

When Isabelle Kelly left the Roosters for the Dragons in 2020, she cited the need for a change. 

The Roosters had just come off a winless campaign the previous NRLW season and the 25-year-old was keen to reunite with several of her NSW teammates in the Red V.

She went to the Dragons chasing success and while she had it early with an NRLW Nines triumph, she also picked up a nasty ankle injury and was part of another winless NRLW campaign in Wollongong.

When Kelly, the 2018 golden boot winner, walked back into Roosters HQ last year to resume her journey at the Bondi club, her teammates and the staff's reaction said it all.

"It was a nice 'welcome home' from everyone I walked past or came across at the club," Kelly told NRL.com.

"It wasn't an 'oh you're back' vibe. I’ll never regret going to the Dragons, they’ve got great people at that club and I made a lot of friendships there but I am at home at the Roosters.

"I always look at things like it’s a learning curve but if I didn’t go there and stayed at the Roosters I wouldn’t have grown and learnt as a person individually. I love this club and the people here."

Kelly and star centre partner Jess Sergis were major departures for the Dragons this season with many believing their exits along would just about put a red line through the side.

 
 
 
 
 
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A post shared by ISABELLE MAREE (@isabellekelly)

However, their former club now stands in the way of Kelly and Sergis' chances of chasing silverware they've fallen short at on two occasions.

Kelly has felt grand final defeat in 2018 while Sergis was part of the Dragons' 2019 side that lost heavy to the Broncos.

The Roosters' upset win over the Broncos last week will give the side plenty of confidence going into the decider and Kelly said they can take a lot away from when the two sides clash in round five.

"We didn’t execute on the day when we last played them so there’s a couple of things we need to fix but they’re an amazing side and have been throughout this competition," Kelly said.

"We’re still building and peaking at the right time. I’m excited to see what we’re going to do and how we beat this Dragons team because I think we can take a lot of confidence into it.

"Some of our younger girls have never played in big games but after playing the Broncos and some very experienced players they can take something away from it.

"We know if we get our one percenters right with being clean with the ball and completing that we could be a really good side."

The Roosters travelled to Queensland on Thursday morning to prepare for the clash in Redcliffe.

Kelly's gem of a day

Despite two NSW teams vying for the title, the biggest crowd of the season is expected at Moreton Daily Stadium.

"It’s a little bit disappointing to not be playing it in Sydney but it’s also exciting," Kelly said.

"The Roosters were in the final last time and Brisbane flew to Sydney so I think it’s going to be good for our team to bond together for the week.

"You can’t keep a lot of the girls’ families away, they’ll definitely be up there."

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.

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