Panthers win spirited clash against Tigers
14 hours ago | Justin Davies
The culmination of the most competitive NRLW season awaits the Brisbane Broncos and the St George Illawarra Dragons with 60 minutes separating the two from the 2019 Premiers title.
Brisbane come into the grand final after suffering the first defeat in their history against the Warriors at the Sydney Cricket Ground. The Broncos were completely outplayed in the opening half with the Kiwi visitors taking a 10-0 lead before the reigning premiers got it back to 10-8. The second half was the better one for the Broncos as they were able to put their attacking prowess on show, and could've levelled the scores had it not been for a missed close-range conversion.
The Broncos have been the most consistent team of the NRLW over it's two seasons after taking last year's title and then victories in the opening two rounds against the Dragons and Roosters. They come into the match with just the one change, with a straight swap between Meg Ward who returns from injury with Tamika Upton dropping back to the reserves.
St George Illawarra come into the decider after back to back wins against the Warriors in New Zealand and then last weekend they were very good against the Roosters with their 24-16 victory. The Dragons were very impressive, dominating possession and having a nearly 90% completion rate. Despite the dominance, the Red V still needed to be strong defensively as the Roosters possessed some potent attack.
The Dragons have had a much-improved season, moving from last to second spot and it's been boosted by a number of key signings including former Rooster Maddie Studdon and a number of the Broncos' 2018 premiership winners including Brittany Breayley and Maitua Feterika. The Dragons have kept the same 17 that took to the field at Leichhardt Oval last Sunday.
Last meeting: Round 1 2019 - Dragons 4 Broncos 14
Who to watch: Broncos' halfback Ali Brigginshaw will be key to the Broncos securing their second premiership on Sunday. Brigginshaw has had a mixed season where she has been strong but hasn't been able to dominate like she could last season - but the Broncos will need her at her best to fight the Dragons.
Women's Dally M winner Jessica Sergis has been the form player of 2019 and her performances for the Dragons are a big part of why the Red ‘V' have made their way to the Grand Final. Sergis is both strong in attack and defence which is going to be key for St George Illawarra trying to win their maiden NRLW Grand Final.
The favourite: Brisbane are tipped to take home their second NRLW title.
My tip: The Broncos have been there and done it before, which will help them on Sunday in not geting overwrought with the emotion of the day. However, the Dragons come into it confident and have the ability to beat the Broncos with some better form following their two wins. Brisbane beat the Dragons back in Round 1 but the form of the two sides since should see the Dragons overturn that result. Dragons by 4.
18. Tamika Upton 2. Julia Robinson 3. Amy Turner 4. Amber Pilley 5. Meg Ward 6. Raecene McGregor 7. Ali Brigginshaw 8. Millie Boyle 9. Lavinia Gould 10. Amber Hall 11. Annette Brander 12. Tazmin Gray 13. Rona Peters 14. Tarryn Aiken 15. Steph Hancock 16. Mariah Storch 17. Chelsea Lenarduzzi
1. Botille Vette-Welsh 2. 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 14. Aaliayah Fasavalu-Faamausili 15. Takilele Katoa 16. Maddison Weatherall 17. Najvada George
Referees: Kasey Badger, Daniel Schwass; Sideline Officials: Jordan Morel, Karra-lee Nolan; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Bryan Norrie;