The First Boss - Henry Hoyle
18 hours ago | Andrew Ferguson
After a successful inaugural season, the NRLW returns on Saturday afternoon as the Sydney Roosters take on the Warriors in the opening match of the 2019 competition at AAMI Park.
The Sydney Roosters finished the first season of the NRLW in second spot after winning one of their 3 games, but having a better points differential than the Warriors and the Dragons. The Roosters needed to wait for the final round of the season to gain their only victory, after falling to defeats against the Warriors and Broncos before a 26-0 victory over the Dragons notched their only win and pushed them into the final.
The Roosters were expected to be one of two sides to contend for the title last season but their season started with a shock loss against the Warriors at ANZ Stadium in the opener, before Brisbane accounted for them 14-4. They have lost a couple of key players for 2019, with Maddie Studdon departing to the Dragons and Tazmin Gray headed to the Broncos.
Like the Roosters, the Warriors only managed one win from their three games, and as mentioned it came against the Roosters in Round 1 when the Warriors held for a 10-4 victory. They couldn't make it two wins however, and finished in third spot on the ladder with big defeats to the Broncos and Dragons over the following weeks.
The women from across the Tasman have added twelve new players to the squad for this season with a heavy turnover of players - eleven were released from their 2018 squad with the key addition being Honey Hireme, joining the NZ based club after playing in 2018 for the Dragons. Sadly for the Warriors however, Hireme will be missing at least this week for personal reasons.
Last meeting: Round 1 2018 - Roosters 4 Warriors 10
Who to watch: NSW State of Origin representative Isabelle Kelly played in all four of the Roosters matches last season, scoring two tries. In this year's Origin match, Kelly had a try assist and was a key part of NSW's attack running for 127 metres.
Kiwi international Georgia Hale was a key player for the Warriors in 2018 and taking on the captaincy will mean that Hale will play an even more important role again this season. She was a stats leader for her side with 109 running metres after playing in the halves and kicking for 312 metres across the three games.
My tip: The Roosters may have lost a couple of key players, but their squad still has enough quality to take the victory on Saturday afternoon. They were disrupted last season in the clash between the two sides, with conditions favouring the Warriors. This year with forecast dry conditions, the Roosters should be able to spin the ball. The first game is always a question mark but the Warriors will need to click if they want to defeat the Tricolours. Roosters by 10.
1. Corban McGregor 2. Karina Brown 3. Shontelle Stowers 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Kiana Takairangi 6. Kirra Dibb 7. Melanie Howard 8. Ruan Sims 9. Nita Maynard 10. Vanessa Foliaki 11. Tallisha Harden 12. Hannah Southwell 13. Simaima Taufa-Kautai 14. Zahara Temara 15. Rebecca Young 16. Aliti Namoce 17. Caitlan Johnston
1. Apii Nicholls 2. Hilda Mariu 3. Jules Newman 4. Atawhai Tupaea 5. Madison Bartlett 6. Timaima Ravisa 7. Charntay Poko 8. Annetta Nuuausala 9. Krystal Rota 10. Aieshaleigh Smalley 11. Kathleen Wharton 12. Crystal Tamarua 13. Georgia Hale 14. Kanyon Paul 16. Billy-Jean Ale 21. Tanika-Jazz Noble 24. Onjeurlina Leiataua
Referees: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski, Daniel Schwass; Sideline Officials: Jordan Morel, Mitchell Currie; Video Referees: Steve Clark, Beau Scott;