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McGregor saves the day as Dragons fight back to put away pesky Eels

St George Illawarra coach Jamie Soward anointed the Sydney Roosters as the best side in the NRLW ahead of their top-of-the-table grand final rematch with his Dragons side on Friday.

A 16-10 win over Parramatta at CommBank Stadium ensured Soward’s side head to Moore Park next week to open the new Sydney Football Stadium with a perfect start.

The Roosters, who defeated the Dragons in the grand final of the 2021 competition, are also off to a perfect start and will want to open life at the new ground with a bang. 

A try-scoring double to Page McGregor and tries from Keele Browne and Teagan Berry helped the Red V to victory after Parramatta had taken a 10-8 lead in at half-time.

“Coming here today and winning is a bonus,” Soward said.

“I think the Roosters were outstanding yesterday (Saturday) and they are the clear favourites to win the competition.

“They are playing at their new $1billion stadium and we are battered and bruised on a shorter turnaround. 

“We’ll patch our team together on Tuesday and get on the bus on Friday.”

Soward’s side had to overcome a mounting injury toll including a knee problem for Talei Holmes, while star prop Elsie Albert struggled for impact on her return from an ankle complaint.

At one point the Dragons had just 14 fit bodies with captain Kezie Apps and forward duo Teagan Dymock and McGregor all being sent for head injury assessments.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 28: Christian Pio of the Eels is tackled during the round two NRLW match between Parramatta Eels and St George Illawarra Dragons at CommBank Stadium, on August 28, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

McGregor and Browne got them off to a perfect start but their hard work was undone by the devastating combination between Eels centre Tiana Penitani and rugby union sevens convert Gayle Broughton.

The pair set each other up on their own tries in the first half but the Eels couldn’t push on after the break. 

After McGregor and Berry added a second, Broughton went off for a head injury assessment late in the game but Eels coach Dean Widders was happy with how she was adapting to the NRLW. 

“She’s really solid in the simple things as a fullback,” Widders said. “We see some amazing things from her at training. 

“As she builds, I think you’ll see a player we probably haven’t seen in the women’s game. I hope we can keep improving and she will be a big part of that.”

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