Roosters v Eels NRLW preview

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Sydney Roosters v Parramatta Eels Sunday 3:50pm at Suncorp Stadium, Milton

Miracles can happen, and it will need to be a miracle if the Parramatta Eels are able to snatch a grand final spot when they take on the undefeated minor premiers the Sydney Roosters in the second of Sunday's NRLW Semi Finals at Suncorp Stadium.

The Roosters convincingly put their stamp on the minor premiership last weekend with a 38-12 victory over the Gold Coast Titans in a game where the Roosters rested a number of key players and the Titans were full strength. Coming up against a side that need a victory to make the finals, the Roosters were in total control of the game from the first minute and looked to be their usual side despite the number of players out.

Despite having moments where they've been convincing, the Roosters have shown at times they are vulnerable of taking their foot off the pedal which they did back in Round 1 when they opened up a lead against the Eels before their opponents managed a short comeback before the tricolours managed to take victory. The consistency was also an issue when they again gave up a lead to the Knights back in Round 4 only to score a late matchwinner. Consistency is going to need to be on song against the Eels who have a knack of putting their opponents off their game.

After having a number of key players rested, there are a number of changes for the Roosters including the key returns of Sam Bremner and Raecene McGregor to the fullback and halfback roles respectively. This sees Jada Taylor dropping to the reserves and Jocelyn Kelleher reverting to the bench. The return of Leianne Tufuga who was also rested sees Shannon Rose drop out of the squad altogether.

The Parramatta Eels left it to the last round to seal their only victory of the NRLW season and it was the most valuable in the team's short history when they had to put up a late rally not only to ensure that they won a match but to do so by the required six-point margin to book their finals spot. The Blue and Gold achieved just that taking a 28-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos in a game where the Eels had to fight for the victory.

Fighting for a victory like that will give confidence to the Blue and Gold that they can go on a winning streak and take down another highly prized contender in the Roosters. The Eels were able to push the Roosters in their match-up early on in the season and that was before they had found a side that was able to gel together. Despite only winning the one game, the Eels though were in every contest and finding some good discipline and control was a big part of their game last week and they will need to find that again to get past the Roosters here.

The Eels have named the same 1-17 as they did last week although injury concerns for their captains Tiana Penitani and Simaima Taufa will have fans and staff on edge waiting for whether they are full fit to play. There is also an opportunity for a switch on the bench for Parrramatta as they did last week with Filomina Hanisi and Seli Mailangi named to start here though being benched for Kennedy Cherrington and Brooke Anderson to start respectively last week.

Last meeting: Round 1 2022 - Eels 16 Roosters 38

Who to watch: The impact of Roosters fullback Sam Bremner has been there for all to see at the moment as the veteran has wound back the clock and showed why she has been one of the games top players for a long time. Having missed the 2021 season earlier in the year, Bremner has not looked like a player that had missed so much Rugby League and her connections in the Roosters side have been the most impressive part of her game.

Eels co-captain Tiana Penitani has made herself an important figure both on and off the field in both Rugby League and Rugby Union but her impact for the Eels this season has been a key factor for the Blue and Gold. The experience that Penitani brings has done wonders for the Eels and her partnership with fullback Gayle Broughton has unleashed an attacking machine for Parramatta that will need to be shut down quickly. The quad injury concern will be something to watch if Penitani plays with how much impact that has for Parra in both attack and defence.

The favourite: The Roosters are hot favourites for Sunday's semi final.

My tip: So much of me wants Parramatta to win this game and go onto win the comp, but on paper the Roosters look too strong for the Eels. The control of Raecene McGregor and Zahara Temara for the Tricolours is just the steady hand that they need whilst the explosive backline can create something out of nothing. The game definitely won't be a blowout, but the Roosters probably have enough to win with class. Roosters by 12.

1. Sam Bremner 2. Leianne Tufuga 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Jayme Fressard 6. Zahara Temara 7. Raecene McGregor 8. Sarah Togatuki 9. Destiny Brill 10. Mya Hill-Moana 11. Shaniah Power 12. Olivia Kernick 13. Keilee Joseph 14. Jocelyn Kelleher 15. Shawden Burton 16. Kalosipani Hopoate 17. Otesa Pule 18. Joeli Morris

1. Gayle Broughton 2. Zali Fay 21. Abbi Church 4. Rikeya Horne 5. Cassey Tohi-Hiku 6. Ash Quinlan 7. Tayla Preston 14. Kennedy Cherrington 15. Brooke Anderson 10. Ellie Johnston 11. Christian Pio 12. Vanessa Foliaki 13. Simaima Taufa 8. Filomina Hanisi 9. Seli Mailangi 16. Najvada George 22. Rima Butler 18. Ruby-Jean Kennard

Referees: Belinda Sharpe; Sideline Officials: Tori Wilkie, Jordan Morel; Video Referees: Chris Butler;

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