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Roosters Claim 2022 Tarsha Gale Cup in Close Contest

The Sydney Roosters have claimed the 2022 Tarsha Gale Cup after an enthralling 12-10 win over the Newcastle Knights at Commbank Stadium.

Saturday's victory secured the Club's second title of 2022 following the NRLW's historic Grand Final victory in what was a low-scoring thriller, which saw the lead change on multiple occasions in a tightly-fought contest. 

The Roosters overcame their 2021 Grand Final heartbreak to complete an undefeated season with a conversion proving to be the difference between the two sides as they held off off the Knights in a tense final ten minutes.

Backrower Otesa Pule was named player of the match with a barnstorming performance that included a long-range try which ultimately sealed the result, while also taking out honours as the Tarsha Gale Cup player of the year. 

The Tricolours began proceedings with the ball in hand, making inroads through the middle of the field to finish well into opposition territory - and looked to get on the board early after a spiralling bomb from Anneka Wilson forced an error from the Knights.

Another kick resulted in more possession for the Roosters as they earned a line drop out from a Tayla Montgomery bomb, but their early momentum was halted following an error on the line.

Both sides traded mistakes in the soggy conditions, and although a slew of errors and penalties opened up a chance for their opposition to score the first try, the Bondi Wall held up with resilient defence. 

Montgomery: "We Had a Goal This Year to Take It Out"

Damaging runs from Pani Hopoate and Otesa Pule put the Red, White and Blue on the front foot as the contest continued to go back and forth in an enthralling first quarter, with neither side willing to concede the first points.

Not to be deterred, the Tricolours continued to press on, with strong charges through the middle propelling them downfield - and appropriately it was a kick that provided the first points as winger Zoe Cass retrieved a well-weighted grubber to touch down under the posts. 

With five minutes remaining in the first half and with newfound confidence, Easts found themselves back in striking distance, with five-eighth Anneka Wilson denied just centimetres from the line. 

Cavallaro: "They Deserve This"

After a see-sawing first half, the Roosters held a 6-nil lead as the sides headed to the sheds.

The second half began in uncharacteristic fashion, however, as a long-range break from Newcastle saw them open their account just two minutes in with the scores level following the successful conversion. 

Errors continued to cruel the Roosters as the defence faced its next test with a scrum 30 metres from the line, and all of a sudden the Knights took the lead with another four-pointer in the corner.

Not to be deterred, the Roosters replied in style as a crunching hit forced an error before Pule streaked away in an almighty effort to score under the posts to level the scores as Ally Bullman's conversion saw the scores at 12-10.

When the going gets tough, the tough gets going and the got tough and they did the job.

Blake Cavallaro On his side's performance in the Grand Final

Buoyed by their recent patch of form, the Tricolours' attack began to click and soon enough the side was in with their third four-pointer only for the try to be denied as the ball carrier was deemed to be held up over the line. 

Newcastle replied with a raid on the edge of their own before Maddie Binding took down her opposite ten metres from the line with a textbook cover tackle as the tenacious defensive line saw the Roosters hold off their opponents. 

With ten minutes remaining, fatigue began to set in as both sides conceded penalties while the Red, White and Blue continued to punch through the defence with conviction and looking to land the final blow.

Momentum swung once again as Newcastle made inroads, but a clever take from Iesha Duckett foiled an attacking grubber before the Bondi Wall denied their opponents again over the line in emphatic fashion. 

The Knights continued to press on, forcing a line drop out with five minutes remaining, but a knock on from the resulting kick saw the Roosters back in possession and holding on for victory, taking home the 2022 Tarsha Gale Cup 12-10.

Head Coach Blake Cavallaro was thrilled with his side's victory, crediting his young team for their tenacity shown throughout the match.  

“The biggest thing for us was making sure we got our processes right and I feel like throughout the week we did,” Cavallaro said.

“The biggest thing I said was when the going gets tough, the tough gets going and the got tough and they did the job.

“It’s an awesome scene for our female pathways, with the NRLW and the Tarsha Gale. These girls will be definitely pushing the NRLW girls and it’s a great start for our club.”

 

Sydney Roosters 12 (Zoe Cass, Otesa Pule tries; Ally Bullman 2 goals) def Newcastle Knights 10 (Sophie Clancy, Kasey Gaukroger tries; Sophie Clancy 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.

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