The Late Mail: Panthers v Devils
68 mins ago | LeagueUnlimited Media
The third and final NRLW match this weekend is a Sunday afternoon top 2 battle between the Sydney Roosters and Newcastle Knights where a win will put either side clear on top of the ladder.
Coming off a big win, the Sydney Roosters will be confident in continuing their undefeated season following their 34-6 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons last weekend. The Roosters were in a grind during the first half but in the second half they turned on the excitement as they raced away from the Dragons running in 28 unanswered points.
The Roosters have been the form team of the competition with three big wins over the Eels, Broncos and Dragons scoring at least 30 points across all three contests scoring 100 points across three matches whilst only conceding ten. The defending premiers are looking hard to beat with a solid squad continuing from last season.
Injuries have played havoc with the Roosters side this week with Shaniah Power and Sarah Togatuki have been left out of the 17 although Togatuki is still in the squad so could still play. The Roosters have also lost Jayme Fressard with Jasmine Strange named to make her debut. Pani Hopoate and Otesa Pule will start whilst Chante Temara and Sam Economos come onto the bench.
The Newcastle Knights went through last season without a win but the 2022 season has been a different story with three straight wins including their last gasp 18-16 victory over the Parramatta Eels last weekend. The Knights were impressive in Round 1 against the Broncos though haven't been clinical in their subsequent victories.
Newcastle started the season strongly but they've been scrappy in the next two games only just being able to get past the Titans and the Eels who are yet to get a win this season despite the Eels in particular playing some good football. The Knights have found their struggles since the loss of Hannah Southwell in Round 1 and despite being a lock, she looks to be a key player and the loss of the weapon in attack has hurt.
The Knights have lost Autumn-Rain Stephens-Daily with a knee injury with Kiana Takairangi coming back into the side on the wing, Simone Karpani returns from a rib complaint with Tiana Davidson going to the reserves this week.
Last meeting: Round 3 2021 - Roosters 28 Knights 12
Who to watch: Roosters fullback Sam Bremner has slotted into the Roosters squad with ease and looks like she didn't miss any Rugby League. The fullback has been a key attacking weapon for the Tricolours and the addition of that extra threat has made the Roosters the most lethal side of the competition.
It's not too often that a bench player is the player to watch but Caitlin Moran has played at every level of the game despite making a belated debut in the NRLW last weekend. Coming off the bench, Moran possesses the X-Factor that could make or break the contest if the Knights are still in it. The experience at international level makes the Knights star an attacking weapon and coming on the field late in the contest she made a big different to the Knights last week.
The favourite: Both are unbeaten, but the Roosters are favoured for victory here.
My tip: The Roosters should have too much for the Knights, the tricolours have looked excellent in all three games and the second half they put on the Dragons last week would be putting fear into the competition and the Knights need to improve on their efforts of the past two weeks. The Novocastrians will be in the fight but the Roosters have too much. Roosters by 10.
5. Jakiya Whitfeld 2. Kiana Takairangi 3. Shanice Parker 11. Romy Teitzel 20. Emmanita Paki 6. Kirra Dibb 7. Jesse Southwell 8. Caitlan Johnston 9. Olivia Higgins 10. Millie Boyle 17. Makenzie Weale 12. Yasmin Clydsdale 15. Tayla Predebon 13. Simone Karpani 14. Emma Manzelmann 16. Caitlin Moran 17. Tiana Davison 18. Kyra Simon
1. Sam Bremner 2. Leianne Tufuga 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Jasmine Strange 6. Zahara Temara 7. Raecene McGregor 8. Kalosipani Hopoate 9. Destiny Brill 10. Mya Hill-Moana 11. Otesa Pule 12. Olivia Kernick 13. Keilee Joseph 14. Jocelyn Kelleher 15. Chante Temara 16. Joeli Morris 17. Samantha Economos 18. Angelina Teakaraanga Katoa
Referees: Belinda Sharpe; Sideline Officials: Tori Wilkie, Jake Sutherland; Video Referees: Chris Butler;