Full Time
1:00pm Sat March 26, 2022
Round 5 - Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Carlton - Crowd: 1023

Round 5: Dragons v Roosters NRLW preview

History beckons for the Red V against a desperate Roosters

Both teams will be desperate to win Saturday's stand-alone contest at Kogarah's Netstrata Jubilee Stadium - but for very different reasons.

St George Illawarra - playing their first competitive NRLW match at the club's spiritual home - sit on top of the table after a record-shattering flogging of Newcastle on Saturday, and a win (preferably a big one) will secure the minor premiership for them. If they can hold off their nearest challengers - Brisbane - it will be the first time the Broncos haven't finished the NRLW premiership season in first place.

The Dragons look to be boosted by the return of Talei Holmes, who has missed three straight games with a hand injury sustained in Round 1. Her return pushes Kody House to the bench, while Dymock and Williams both return to the interchange themselves after missing out last week. Renee Targett, Aliti Namoce and Alexandra Sulusi drop to the reserves.

The Tricolours' path to the finals is a much darker one. They first need a win on Saturday, then need at least one of the Titans or Eels to lose to ensure a smooth path into the top four. If those two clubs both win, then it will come down to differential, of which the Roosters' is the worst of the three clubs vying for those last two spots in the top four.

The good news for the Roosters is the return of star centre Jess Sergis, who will face off against the Dragons for the first time. Brydie Parker moves back to the win and Yasmin Meakes shifts to the forward pack. Keilee Joseph also returns to the side on the bench, with Samantha Economos out of the side after sustaining a head knock last weekend.

Last meeting: Round 1 2020 - Roosters 18 Dragons 4

Who to watch: Centres of attention. Expected to struggle after losing a bunch of stars, the Dragons have excelled this season - in particular thanks to centre Jaime Chapman. After losing Jess Sergis between seasons, Chapman has filled the gap superbly, with two tries from her three games to show for her efforts.

Sergis missed last weekend's match and will be eager to get back onto the park and put in a big performance. Despite the big name signing, the dominant edge for the Roosters this year has actually been the Kelly-Parker one - but this week they'll need both sides of the field firing on all cylinders. Enter Sergis.

The favourite: The Dragons are top of the table - and favourites in this contest - for a reason.

My tip: St George Illawarra were simply electric in Sunday's win over Newcastle - it's hard to go past such a dominant side. Dragons by 8.