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NRLW 2022: Dragons to face Roosters in decider after edging out fast-finishing Titans

Cellar dwellers in 2020, the Dragons at the moment are only one win away from the NRLW title after the brilliance of Kezie Apps and Emma Tonegato, in addition to a stout defence, noticed off the Titans.

St George-Illawarra gained their NRLW semi-final in opposition to competitors newbies Gold Coast Titans on Sunday to make it again to the promised land for the primary time since 2019.

Rookie coach Jamie Soward turning the 2020 wood spooners into grand finalists, who overcame a gradual begin to prevail on the hallowed Leichhardt Oval in entrance of 1734 followers.

A late Titans’ surge, with two tries within the ultimate 5 minutes, closed the hole to 6, however regardless of the surprising nerves, the Dragons progressed 24-18.

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After difficult reigning champions Brisbane Broncos for prime spot all season, the Dragons confirmed the highest two billing by reserving their spot within the decider subsequent Sunday, at Redcliffe.

Underneath shiny, sunny skies, 40-year-old veteran and 20-Check Jillaroos nice Stephanie Hancock stormed over the road to publish the opening factors, exhibiting some fleet of foot that belied her age, adopted by her second within the ultimate minute to maintain the sunshine flickering.

With captain Kezie Apps, stand out fullback Emma Tonegato flicked the change halfway via the primary half, each exceeding 100 run metres.

Tonegato’s fourth strive of the season gave the second-placed Dragons the halftime lead.

Jaime Chapman’s confirmed no indicators of final week’s head knock by scoring the victors’ third, and in live performance along with her facet’s defiant defence, the goalkicking of halfback Rachael Pearson ensured the scores didn’t get nearer than they want be, kicking three from 4.

PELITE LATE INCLUSION TO NO AVAIL

Australian Olympic gold medallist and celebrity again Evania Pelite was a late inclusion within the centres for the Titans after an ankle damage solid actual doubt over her involvement through the week.

The 26-year-old former Rugby Sevens participant had performed a lot of the season at fullback however was shifted to the centres and confirmed no indicators of being hampered early with a final ditch try-saving sort out on winger Teagan Berry.

However the Dragons’ relentless cost made the hassle irrelevant. Fellow Rio 2016 Sevens gold medallist, opposing No. 1 Tonegato, popping out on prime.

SOWARD MAKES GF IN ROOKIE SEASON

A former NRL half and 2010 premiership winner, Jamie Soward signed because the Dragons’ NRLW coach in October 2021 and has taken his facet, who have been winless in 2020, to the deciding match.

Enduring what he described as ‘torture’ within the week main as much as the sport, Soward would have been delighted to see his staff keep the defence he has emphasised all season.

Soward performed 215 video games for the Roosters, Dragons and Penrith throughout his distinguished NRL profession beneath premiership profitable coaches Ricky Stuart, Wayne Bennett and Ivan Cleary. After subsequent Sunday, he could possibly add his title to that listing.

FAREWELL FOR HANCOCK, PERHAPS?

When she opened the scoring, it appeared that NRLW nice Steph Hancock could also be set for a fairytale farewell in a grand ultimate.

Hancock got here out of retirement of be certainly one of Gold Coast’s marquee signings of their inaugural season, beginning nearly all video games after suggesting in the beginning of the season she could be filling principally a bench function.

Passing a HIA, she returned to the sector to complete with the identical spirit she was demonstrated all through her adorned profession.

Broncos up the ante in bid for four-peat

– Chris Honnery

Broncos fullback Tamika Upton has been described as being “in a league of her own” because the Rockhampton rocket returns to the facet this weekend in an enormous increase to Brisbane’s premiership possibilities.

The 25-year-old has been pressured to sit down out the previous two video games due to damage after which Covid as Brisbane went on to say the NRLW minor premiership and e-book a semi-finals spot in opposition to the Roosters at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

Upton lit the competitors alight within the early rounds of the season along with her blistering tempo and assist play earlier than a head knock with Dragons centre Keele Browne in spherical 3 after which a constructive Covid consequence dominated her out for the remainder of the common season.

The Brisbane No.1 admitted it had been powerful to look at her teammates whereas she sat in isolation – or from the sideline – but it surely gave her a contemporary perspective on the sport and it’s set to present her an enormous benefit over the Roosters on Sunday.

“I learnt a lot watching from the sideline so I took that as a positive,” Upton mentioned.

“I realised the area and the spacing on the field. You don’t really see that while you’re out there because you get a bit of tunnel vision.

“I watched that Titans game from the coaches’ box so you can see the whole field.

“That was a really good experience.”

SCROLL DOWN FOR NRLW SEMI-FINAL TEAM LISTS

Upton’s return is about to be an enormous increase for the Broncos in Sunday’s semi-final, with Brisbane enforcer Millie Boyle describing the proficient fullback as being in a league of her personal.

“I definitely think Tamika is in a league of her own,” Boyle mentioned.

“She’s set the standard for fullbacks playing the game, not just in the women’s game.

“It comes so natural to her in the way she organises the defensive line and chimes in when she’s needed.

“She has this ability to pop up in the middle for a support play.

“Cover tackles, speed, everything, she just ticks so many boxes.

“As good as she is, I think she’s still very underrated for what she actually does for the team and our confidence.

“She’s a big boost to have back this week.”

The Broncos additionally welcome again premiership-winning outdoors again Julia Robinson on Sunday after she broke her cheekbone in spherical 1.

Regardless of the losses of Upton and Robinson, the Broncos have been in a position to cowl their spots in a transparent indication of the power of their enjoying roster depth.

“Our depth is great and we’ve had a few debutants this season,” Upton mentioned.

“The experienced people like Amy Turner and Ali Brigginshaw helps to bring through these younger ones and they just step into the Broncos jersey and do a job.

“I’ve been really impressed.

“There’s a lot of talent out there and with expansion, we’ll no doubt see a lot more.”

Soward places metal in Dragons

-Matt Encarnacion

Jamie Soward is aware of a factor or two about being defensive.

Which is why it needs to be no shock that St George Illawarra are banking on their status as the most effective defensive staff within the NRLW to drive them to a breakthrough premiership.

The Dragons can be out to e-book a spot in subsequent week’s grand ultimate in Redcliffe after they face newcomers Gold Coast within the first of Sunday’s semi-final double-header in Leichhardt.

Soward’s facet have been denied the minor premiership by factors differential, nevertheless they will nonetheless lay declare to being the most effective defensive staff after conceding simply 48 factors of their 5 video games.

And centre Jaime Chapman credit the premiership-winning coach.

“We have such a strong forward pack. And while our girls are little, we’re definitely strong,” Chapman mentioned. “Everything we’ve been working towards has come our way during the game.

“Sowie doesn’t hold back on us with contact at training. So I think that’s helped us a lot within the games and our experiences as well.”

The Dragons should be at their miserly greatest to disclaim the Titans what could be a fairytale shot at premiership glory of their inaugural season.

Gold Coast pushed St George Illawarra all the best way of their round-one conflict off the again of an inspirational show from star fullback Evania Pelite.

The 2016 Rugby Sevens gold medallist was close to unstoppable that day, recording a game-high 162 runs because the Titans fought again from a 14-0 deficit to get again inside two.

Pelite missed final week’s final-round win over Newcastle with an ankle damage, and stays in some doubt to take the sector at Leichhardt Oval after being named on an prolonged bench.

“She’s such a strong player and she’s one of our targets,” Chapman mentioned.

“Having her out of the game would be a win for us. But if she was to play, we all trust each other to get straight on her and tackle her one-on-one.”

NRLW SEMI-FINALS – THE KEY MATCH-UPS

DRAGONS and TITANS

Kezie Apps v Steph Hancock

Two of essentially the most skilled forwards within the girls’s sport are persevering with to dominate the competitors, so count on fireworks after they come collectively. Apps has averaged 11 carries for near 100m throughout her three video games this season whereas Hancock has barnstormed her approach to two essential tries in two separate matches.

Emma Tonegato v Jetaya Faifua

Olympic gold medallist Tonegato has been one of many standouts of the NRLW season thus far. Her blistering velocity and sort out busting capacity has terrorised opposition defensive strains. Teenager Jetaya Faifua has been named within the No.1 jersey for the injured Evania Pelite – who has been named on the prolonged bench – and possesses scintillating velocity to rival Tonegato’s. Pelite was the star within the first assembly between these two sides.

BRONCOS and ROOSTERS

Tamika Upton v Corban Baxter

The 2 State of Origin representatives can be key for his or her respective sides on Sunday. Upton’s velocity and assist play is extremely powerful to cease whereas Baxter’s management and expertise can assist information the Roosters to victory.

Shenae Ciesiolka v Jessica Sergis

Ciesolka has proved to be one of the crucial damaging centres within the sport this 12 months, with 4 tries and 4 strive assists to her title. For the Roosters, star recruit Sergis has proven glimpses of simply how harmful she could be and being an enormous sport participant, count on her to step it up a notch in opposition to the Broncos.

SEMI-FINAL TEAM LISTS

DRAGONS v TITANS

Sunday, 12.00pm, Leichhardt Oval

DRAGONS

1. Emma Tonegato, 2. Teagan Berry, 3. Jaime Chapman, 4. Paige McGregor, 5. Madison Bartlett, 6. Taliah Fuimaono, 7. Rachael Pearson, 8. Elsie Albert, 9. Keeley Davis, 10. Kezie Apps, 11. Talei Holmes, 12. Shaylee Bent, 13. Holli Wheeler

Bench: 14. Quincy Dodd, 15. Kody Home, 16. Tegan Dymock, 17. Janelle Williams

Reserves: 18. Renee Targett, 19. Keele Browne, 20. Shellie Lengthy, 21. Aliti Namoce-Sagano, 22. Alexandra Sulusi, 23. Matilda Energy, 24. Chantel Tugaga

TITANS

1. Jetaya Faifua, 2. Karina Brown, 3. Jasmine Peters, 4. Shaniah Energy, 5. Hailee-Jay Maunsell, 6. Grace Griffin, 7. Kimiora Breayley-Nati, 8. Brianna Clark, 9. Brittany Breayley-Nati, 10. Stephanie Hancock, 11. Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, 12. Tazmin Grey, 13. Future Brill

Bench: 14. Georgia Hale, 15. Jessika Elliston, 16. Laikha Clarke, 19. April Ngatupuna

Reserves: 18. Cobie-Jane Morgan, 20. Karli Hansen, 21. Zara Canfield, 22. Evania Pelite, 23. Lauren Dam, 24. Lauren Moss

BRONCOS v ROOSTERS

Sunday, 1.45pm, Leichhardt Oval

BRONCOS

1. Tamika Upton, 2. Julia Robinson, 3. Amy Turner, 4. Shenae Ciesiolka, 5. Emily Bass, 6. Tarryn Aiken, 7. Ali Brigginshaw, 8. Millie Boyle, 9. Lauren Brown, 10. Chelsea Lenarduzzi, 11. Kaitlyn Phillips, 12. Amber Corridor, 13. Lavinia Gould

Bench: 14. Hayley Maddick, 15. Tallisha Harden, 16. Roxette Murdoch, 17. Sara Sautia

Reserves: 18. Jada Ferguson, 19. Hagiga Mosby, 20. China Polata, 21. Toni Hunt, 22. Jessikah Reeves, 24. Lesa Kaleti Mata’afa

ROOSTERS

1. Corban Baxter, 2. Leianne Tufuga, 3. Jessica Sergis, 4. Isabelle Kelly, 5. Brydie Parker, 6. Zhara Temara, 7. Raecene McGregor, 8. Sarah Togatuki, 9. Olivia Higgins, 10. Mya Hill-Moana, 11. Yasmin Meakes, 12. Olivia Kernick, 13. Hannah Southwell

Bench: 14. Jocelyn Kelleher, 15. Keilee Joseph, 16. Tayla Predebon, 17. Simone Karpani

Reserves: 18. Joeli Morris, 19. Kalosipani Hopoate, 20. Lauretta Leao-Seve, 21. Otesa Pule, 22. Shawden Burton, 23. Taylor-Adeline Mapusua, 24. Taneka Todhunter

Initially revealed as NRLW 2022: Dragons to face Roosters in decider after edging out fast-finishing Titans

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