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Sydney Roosters Exercise Demons To Claim 2022 NRLW Premiership

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Sydney Roosters Exercise Demons To Claim 2022 NRLW Premiership

The Sydney Roosters have secured their first ever NRLW premiership, beating the St George Illawarra Dragons 16-4 in the grand final on Sunday in Redcliffe.

After finishing runners up to the Brisbane Broncos last season, the Roosters vowed they would do everything they could get their hands on this year's trophy.

They scraped into the finals before knocking out the Broncos in last weekend's semi-final before finally taking it all the way to claim the NRLW's Holy Grail.

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The Dragons opened the scoring early, with Madison Bartlett crossing in only the second minute to put her at the top of the all-time try scorers list in NRLW.

Despite an onslaught of attack, the Dragons kept the Roosters at bay, with some strong defence denying the Tricolours from crossing on three separate occasions.

Credit: Getty Images
Credit: Getty Images

Even after Dragons five eighth Taliah Fuimaona was sent to the sin bin for a high shot on Rooster's winger Brydie Parker, the Roosters couldn't capitalise on the one player advantage.

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Seconds before the tackle that saw her hit in the head, Parker winced in pain with what looked like a knee injury. Absolutely devastated and in tears, Parker had to leave the field and was unable to return.

The Roosters went to the break trailing the Dragons 4-0. But they struck first in the second half, with Yasmin Meakes scoring a try in the 45th minute. The sides remained in a real arm wrestle until Isabelle Kelly scored a four pointer and broke the deadlock in the 58th minute.

The final try that sealed the match unfortunately came under a cloud of controversy when Roosters hooker Olivia Higgins crossed for her first ever NRLW try. Moments before, the Roosters trainer was attending to an injured player and signalled to the referee for play to stop.

While some players saw this did stop, the referee never blew the whistle, which saw Higgins stroll through a huge hole in the defensive line to score.

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NRL Fox commentators Tarsha Gale and Brenton Speed thought the Roosters were lucky to get the try.

"The injured player may have caused a bit of a gap in the defensive line," Gale said.

"This doesn't look right," Speed added.

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"That is a Roosters trainer saying let's stop play, I'm not comfortable with the play coming near me. The next minute the Roosters score a try."

"Any other time play would have stopped," Gale replied.

"But you have got to play to the whistle."

Despite the controversy, the Roosters were the better side on the day and outplayed the Dragons.

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Isabelle Kelly was one of the best for the Roosters, scoring a try, running for 170 metres, and making seven tackle breaks. Dally M winner Emma Tonegato put in a brilliant performance for the Dragons, running for 204 metres and heavily involved out the back.

Roosters players celebrate. Credit: Getty Images
Roosters players celebrate. Credit: Getty Images

But it was Roosters forward Sarah Togatuki who had an absolutely outstanding match and was deservedly awarded the Karyn Murphy Medal for player of the match. Togatuki almost missed the grand final all together after being placed on report in last weekend's semi-final but was cleared at the judiciary during the week.

"She's the heart and soul of the club," Roosters coach John Strange admitted in the post-match press conference. "She has worked so hard to play in a grand final and to get the win....it was a really big lift for the players when she was cleared to play."

Strange was very proud of their efforts and coming from behind once again.

"Down 4-0 at half time, obviously there was total belief, we just needed to change a couple of things in the second half and I believed we would get over the top of them.... I'm just so proud of them."

On the other end of the spectrum Dragon's coach Jamie Soward was disappointed for his team.

"It hurts. I feel sorry for the girls, they busted their arse for me for six weeks in the pre-season and I'm really hurt for them," Soward said.

"It'll burn for a little while, but someone had to lose, someone had to win...but I'm proud of the girls that have bought in and set the standard of the culture of what it takes to be a Dragon now."

With the NRLW 2021 season coming to a close, the women will return to their state competitions, with the BMD premiership in Queensland and the Harvey Norman NSW Premiership.

We still have a lot of amazing women's rugby league to watch this year, with State of Origin, the 2022 season and World Cup all still to come.

Featured Image Credit: Getty Images

Topics: Australia, NRLW

Danielle Smith
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