The Sydney Roosters have booked their spot in next week's NRLW Grand Final with emphatic style after a 26-0 defeat of the St George Illawarra Dragons which included four tries to winger Taleena Simon.
A grand final spot was on the cards for the winner of this one but for the Roosters it was also the case of avoiding going through the maiden NRLW season winless. The Roosters had changes to make and one of their biggest changes was the withdrawl of NSW captain Maddie Studdon whilst the Dragons were forced into a plethoera of changes including being with out star Sam Bremner for the second week in a row.
The Roosters showed that they meant business right from the start of the contest and the pressure was on the Dragons defence who twice had to knock down the ball to reduce the pressure on their own defence. However, the Roosters used the mounting pressure to their advantage when they spotted the Dragons playing with a compressed defence and some good long passing from O'Mealey out to Taleena Simon who had the first of the afternoon.
Pressure continued to mount on the Dragons and again it was smart play by the Roosters halves who knew that the Dragons defence was still playing a very compressed defensive line and Temara and O'Mealey spotted that and a string of long passes created space on the outside. The try was almost a carbon copy of the first which saw the long passes out to Taleena Simon who stepped back in and got herself a second try.
Just five minutes was the timespan of the hat-trick for Taleena Simon who scored again out wide n the corner. The try was set up by a kick from Zahara Temara which landed just short of Dragons fullback Honey Hireme and it took a wicked bounce away from Hireme and continued to roll away from her and eventually Taleena Simon charged through to dive on the ball first just inside the touch ingoal line. The try needed approving after Kasey Badger referred it to the bunker but there were no issues and the Roosters had a 12-0 lead.
The lead could've been much more for the Roosters going into the break with Zahara Temara failing to convert any of the three Simon tries from close enough to the sideline. The start of the second half didn't get much better for the Dragons with Hireme putting down a high kick from Temara and put the Roosters deep into attack yet again. The Roosters only needed one play from the scrum to get Taleena Simon a fourth. The Roosters swept left and used the numbers to put Simon through untouched for her fourth try of the night.
The ball seemingly was on a string for Temara who again caused issues with her kicking game, first forcing a repeat set and then putting in a high kick that did enough in the air to put Dragons centre Shakiah Tungai off and drop the ball. The loose ball sat perfectly for the debutant Brydie Parker who cleaned it up and scored in the right hand corner, the Roosters hadn't made anything easy for Temara's conversions and she missed another conversion from out wide.
The Dragons were asking questions of the Roosters and they did manage to cross the line inside the final ten minutes however they were quickly knocked back by referee Jon Stone's live decision of No Try before the bunker also put up the red lights after one replay. The Roosters finished the game in style with Victoria Latu charging her way to the line and got the ball to the try line and was awarded the try on review by the bunker.
The win puts the Roosters through to next week's grand final whilst the 26 point defeat puts the Dragons on the bottom of the NRLW ladder.