Aaron Woods and Campbell Graham were interviewed on the Allegiant Stadium turf as a host of NRL stars made the trip to promote the…
Week 4 of the Women’s National Rugby League premiership saw us one week closer to knowing which will be the four teams to progress to the semi-finals.
The Gold Coast Titans recorded their first win of the season, the St George Illawarra held on in a golden point thriller against the Brisbane Broncos and with a win against the in-form Newcastle Knights, the Sydney Roosters cemented their place as competition heavyweights.
Here’s your talking points.
Given the scheduling of the NRLW this season and the choice of location, I can’t help but feel like the NRLW is an afterthought or only considered in the context of a broadcast schedule.
Most of the teams in the NRLW will have sold memberships so fans can show their support. While showing support for women’s sport is important, NRLW members get very little for their commitment.
It certainly does not assist NRLW fans in getting into matches (given the misalignment between the NRLM teams and the NRLW teams) and more so now that entry into any game will require a finals ticket.
This means that if NRLW fans want to go and cheer on their teams, they are essentially forced to purchase finals tickets, despite them potentially having a lack of interest in the finals fixture.
Even more ridiculous this week was the decision to play the first two games of the fixture in Melbourne. While NRLW teams are used to travel, this decision required all four teams to travel as well as their staff (some of whom have only just finished juggling two jobs with the end of the NRLM season), to play in front of very few fans with the crowd for first game at 505 and at the second, just 1,229.
Fortunately, next week the NRLW will have its moment with a triple-header scheduled at Central Coast Stadium and with the make-up of the Finals still to be determined, I’m hoping that the Stadium will be full.
The game between the top and second ranked teams certainly did not disappoint.
After trailing the Roosters 12-0 at halftime, the Knights scored three unanswered second half tries, to take a 16-12 lead. In the end, it was a late try from Isabelle Kelly who ran the length of the field that secured the win for the Roosters.
But as one of the newest teams to enter the competition the Knights have shown significant improvement. Not only did they push the Roosters for 80 minutes today, even with Tamika Upton missing and losing Millie Boyle through the game due to HIA, but they have also managed to beat every other team in the competition, other than the Dragons who they will play in the final round.
I suspect this is not the last time we will see the Roosters play the Knights and no doubt the Knights will be better for this experience.
With a competition still in its infancy, it’s always exciting to see another first in the NRLW, with the first ever golden point game taking place between the Dragons and the Broncos.
It was an incredible fightback from the Broncos. Even after the Dragons led 18-8 and Chelsea Lenarduzzi being sent to the sin bin, Jamie Chapman and Ali Brigginshaw each scored tries and thanks to a conversion from Tarryn Aitken, the NRLW saw its first golden point game.
But in the end, Rachael Pearson showed nerves of steel, slotting the match winning field goal for her team. It was also the first time the Dragons had beat the Broncos in the history of the NRLW.
• The Titans failed to score in the second half, but survived a late comeback from the Eels to win 18-16.
• Evania Pelite was moved from fullback to centre and it worked wonders for the Titans with Pelite carrying the ball for 266 metres and having 11 tackle breaks.
• Incredibly, after scoring for the Titans, Steph Hancock is the top try scorer in the competition.
• It was quite the debut for Jasmin Strange, who scored on debut for the Roosters after just two minutes.
• Not only did she score on debut, but Jasmin and her dad John made history, becoming the first daughter to be coached by her father in the NRLW.
• Neither the Roosters nor the Knights managed a completion rate of above 65 per cent.
In the final round, there is still plenty to play out.
Currently, the Parramatta Eels are still winless heading into the Final Round but still have a chance to make the Finals. The Eels will face the Broncos and must win this game. They will also be hoping for the Roosters to beat the Titans and beat the big to impact for and against.
The other match will see the Dragons play the Knights. With both teams game this week being decided by the smallest of margins, both teams will be looking to finish the regular season with a win.
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