2022 review: Canberra Raiders
93 mins ago | Sam Bourke
The Newcastle Knights have completed a stunning NRLW reversal to take their first NRLW title with a comprehensive 32-12 verdict over a brave Parramatta Eels side at Accor Stadium.
It was a momentous occasion as both sides were playing in their first grand finals at the NRLW level, but both sides had plenty of big game experience which was on display for the whole 70 minutes of play.
Newcastle had to do a bulk of the early defending, defending consecutive sets off the back of their own inability to hold the football. Eventually, the pressure took it's toll and the Eels were rewarded in the twelfth minute of play. Brooke Anderson was able to crash over out of dummy half as she caught the Knights asleep on the goal-line which allowed the Eels to get an early lead.
The Eels committed the cardinal sin and failed to complete their set after points and after showing some defensive resistance. They took their eyes off Tamika Upton and were rightly made to pay for it. A good offload from Olivia Higgins to Upton who got a magical offload to Romy Teitzel who got it away to Kiana Takairangi to get the Knights back into it, Kirra Dibb's missed conversion kept the Eels in front.
Three minutes later, the Knights were putting the Eels to the sword when Parramatta's ill-discipline gave the Knights some more field position and the weight of possession told the story. A long ball from Jesse Southwell found Yasmin Clydsdale who found Bobbi Law who in turn found Emmanita Paki who burrowed her way to the line to give the Knights their first lead of the day.
That lead was extended on the stroke of half-time when Southwell again turned provider with a lovely short ball which got Romy Teitzel running a terrific line to extend the lead for the Novocastrians. The score wouldn't change going into the change of ends despite a few more nervous moments for Dean Widders' Parramatta outfit.
Parramatta got off to the worst possible start after half-time, going the opening seven minutes without touching the football. Newcastle was able to suffocate their opposition and eventually, the star of the show Upton threw the dummy and caught the Eels napping once more and dived over for a well-deserved try. Dibb had another un-timely miss which kept the Eels in the game.
Off the back of some strong runs through the middle, the Eels received a penalty and the game smarts of captain Simaima Taufa proved decisive. A quick tap was allowed as she was outside the ten meters and she was able to catch the Knights asleep at the line to reduce the gap to six points. Parramatta was starting to gain the ascendency, but they were unable to get the right play off. Gayle Broughton was denied a try when she pushed Clydsdale off the ball.
Newcastle sealed the game inside the final five minutes of play when their key players combined brilliantly. Caitlin Moran and Southwell combined with Upton who got a lovely pass onto Takairangi who crosses for her second to lead by ten. Off the ensuing set, a penalty conceded by the Eels allowed Southwell to show and go to cross for the Knights. The party kept on continuing in the final five minutes, a clever kick from Moran was allowed to bounce and Clydsdale crosses to clinch the 2022 NRLW crown. Tamika Upton was judged to have been the Karyn Murphy Medal winner for being the best on the ground.
Newcastle Knights 32 - Parramatta Eels 12
Venue: Accor Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
Halftime Score: Newcastle Knights 18 Parramatta Eels 6
LeagueUnlimited.com Players of the Match:
3 points - Jesse Southwell
2 points - Tamika Upton
1 points - Millie Boyle
NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS (32)
Tries: Kiana Takairangi (2), Emmanita Paki, Romy Teitzel, Tamika Upton, Jesse Southwell, Yasmin Clydsdale
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Kirra Dibb (1/5), Jesse Southwell (1/2)
PARRAMATTA EELS (12)
Tries: Brooke Anderson, Simaima Taufa
Two Point Field Goals:
Conversions: Tayla Preston (2/2)