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Ruthless Roosters One Step Closer to Obtaining Back-to-Back Titles

The Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy are through to their third consecutive Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final after crushing the Newcastle Knights 40-4 at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday. 

The Roosters dominated the entire game with opportunistic attacking plays set up by Skyla Adams and Brooke Talataina. Winger Mia Barber was also a shining light in the Tricolours' 36-point win, nailing six from seven conversions and scoring the opening try in a flawless performance. 

Unbeaten all season, the Indigenous Academy will now defend their title in the Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final against the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs next Saturday. 

After Newcastle prop Cheyenne Baker spilt the ball in the third minute of the match, the Roosters used the opportunity to progress well into their attacking half and towards their try-line. 

Imogen Hei looked right off dummy-half to observe an overlap on the edge as the Knights' defence scrambled to spread across the field. Sending a cut out ball to Skyla Adams, the halfback quickly passed the ball on to her fullback Krystal Bulmer who flew towards the line before finding Mia Barber in support. 

Barber finished the play, grounding the ball in the fifth minute. The winger converted her own try, giving her team a six-point lead as the conditions began to worsen at Leichhardt. 

An impressive run from Roosters centre Joy Levy carried the Indigenous Academy 20 metres downfield only minutes later as Newcastle's defence struggled to find their structure once again. A pin-point chip kick from Adams opened the line, with Lailani Montgomery gathering the loose ball and crashing over uncontested in the ninth minute to extend the Tricolours' advantage. Barber converted the try, making the score 12-0. 

A sensational play from Hei got the Roosters over the stripe once again in the 15th minute with the hooker scooting through the line off dummy half before connecting with five-eighth Brooke Talataina who used momentum to slide over the line. Barber added the extras to give her team an 18-point lead. 

Heroic goal-line defence from Barber shut down the Knights only real try-scoring opportunity in the 23rd minute, as the winger stepped up to make a one-on-one tackle and shove her opposing number 5, Kyah Johnston, into touch. 

In the opening minute of the second half, the Roosters found the line once again after Barber snatched a Knights' penalty kick for touch from the air to give her team possession in their attacking 20. Charging onto the ball Eliza Lopamaua crossed for the Indigenous Academy's fourth try of the afternoon, with Barber nailing the conversion to make the score 24-0. 

Another genius play from Hei opened the Knights defensive line only eight minutes later, sending Ilisia Haumono over for the Tricolours fifth four-pointer. Barber continued her perfect afternoon off the boot, making it five from five conversions to extend the lead to 30. 

Adams set the Roosters up with a superb bomb that couldn't be collected by the Knights' fullback, allowing Montgomery to race through and gather possession within 10 metres of the try-line. Hei scooped up the ball from dummy-half running towards the sideline before spinning around to find Tavarna Papalii in the 46th minute, sending her through the Newcastle defence and over the line. Barber made no mistake from close range. 

Yet another precise kick from Adams put the Knights under pressure, coughing up the ball in their attempt to catch the high ball. With the referee ruling a knock-on, the Roosters plotted another attacking raid. Rushing up to defence, Talataina exploded through the line courtesy of a left-foot step to cross for the Indigenous Academy's seventh unanswered try. Barber's kick waved away from the uprights. 

A late consolation try to Knights lock Tiarna West had limited impacted on the final result, with Charlotte Barwick missing the conversion. 

The Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy will now face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs in the Tarsha Gale Cup Grand Final at Leichhardt Oval next Saturday. 

Sydney Roosters Indigenous Academy 40 (Mia Barber, Lailani Montgomery, Brooke Talataina 2, Eliza Lopamaua, Ilisia Haumono, Tavarna Papalii tries, Mia Barber 6 goals) def Newcastle Knights 4 (Tiarna West try)

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.