Dragons v Roosters NRLW preview

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St George Illawarra Dragons v Sydney Roosters Sunday 1:15pm at Leichhardt Oval

The final regular season match of the NRLW season sees the second of the stand-alone matches take place on Sunday at Leichhardt as the St George Illawarra Dragons look to book their first ever NRLW Grand Final berth, up against the Sydney Roosters - who made it to the big dance last year.

The Dragons were very impressive last weekend in their road trip to New Zealand, able to run out big 26-6 winners over the Warriors. They were kept scoreless in the first half, but their second half attack was excellent running in five tries to zero. It was a dominant in the second half which helped fullback Botille Vette-Welsh run for 212m - more than double the best of any Warriors player on the day.

In team news, the Red ‘V' have been forced into a couple of changes with Stephanie Mooka returning to the wing with Rikeya Horne dropping to the bench. They've also named Keeley Davis in the halves after Kimiora Nati was ruled out through illness which saw her miss last weeks clash. The issues surrounding the registration of Maitua Feterika also appear to be sorted with the prop named.

The Roosters have had big wraps coming into both NRLW seasons, and despite making the inaugural grand final, they have been very disappointing in their performances overall, with no wins to their name as they come to the final round - just like last season. The Roosters were poor last week against the Broncos as they fell to a 20-0 defeat. They were outplayed in every fashion in tough conditions, and will need to improve massively if they want to take the win and get results go their way.

Following last weekend's 20-0 defeat, the Tricolours have had to make a string of changes with captain Simaima Taufa ruled out with a knee injury - Zahara Temara moves to the lock position. Melanie Howard has been moved back into starting side with a positional swap with Temara. Shontelle Stowers, Rebecca Young and Simone Smith have all faced the axe from the Roosters 17.

Last meeting: Round 3 2018 - Roosters 26 Dragons 0

Who to watch: Dragons fullback Botille Vette-Welsh starred for the Red ‘V' last weekend as mentioned earlier, running for well over 200m in the Dragons win in Auckland. The New South Wales representative has been a quiet shiner for the Dragons - surrounded by bigger names - but the impact that Vette-Walsh can hold might just set the Dragons up for a big game from the back.

Veteran Rooster Ruan Sims has announced her retirement from the game and will be looking for a big performance in what could be her final game. Sims hasn't had the biggest impact in the competition but her experience is what the Roosters need to go forward and try to pull off the victory for the Grand Final spot. The defensive side of Sims' game will also be important to their efforts.

My tip: The Roosters will be desperate to win but the turn around from their performance last Saturday will need to be massive. The Dragons weren't bad in Round 1 and the improvement was on show in their efforts against the Warriors last week. The Dragons have a quicker game and the ball movement skills of the Red V girls will catch the Roosters out. The conditions will suit the Roosters better, but still the Dragons have too much class to lose this one. Dragons by 10.


1. Botille Vette-Welsh 14. Rikeya Horne 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Tiana Penitani 5. Shakiah Tungai 6. Keeley Davis 7. Maddie Studdon 8. Ngatokotoru Arakua 9. Brittany Breayley 10. Maitua Feterika 11. Kezie Apps 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Holli Wheeler 15. Takilele Katoa 16. Maddison Weatherall 17. Najvada George 19. Aaliayah Fasavalu-faamausili

1. Corban McGregor 2. Karina Brown 3. Bobbi Law 4. Isabelle Kelly 18. Shanice Parker 6. Kirra Dibb 7. Melanie Howard 8. Ruan Sims 9. Nita Maynard 10. Aliti Namoce 11. Tallisha Harden 12. Hannah Southwell 13. Zahara Temara 14. Quincy Dodd 15. Jasmin Allende 16. Vanessa Foliaki 17. Caitlan Johnston


Referees: Kasey Badger, Daniel Schwass; Sideline Officials: Mitchell Currie, Karra-lee Nolan; Video Referees: Henry Perenara, Beau Scott;



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