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Round 1 predictions and preview as Roosters launch back-to-back bid

The fifth season of NRL Women’s gets underway this weekend, with defending premiers the Roosters making the trip west to face the Eels, while the Dragons and Titans square off in a preliminary final rematch.

Eels vs Roosters
The Eels have the honour of kicking off the 2022 NRL Women’s season when they tackle defending premiers the Sydney Roosters.

Dean Widders’ side will have a point to prove after being knocked out of the finals race by the Brisbane Broncos and there is no tougher task than facing the premiers first-up.

The Roosters have a new captain in Isabelle Kelly, who takes the captain’s armband from Corban Baxter who will sit out the season due to pregnancy, while ex-Dragon Sam Bremner has made the move to Bondi Junction after giving birth to her second child recently.

At stake for John Strange’s side is the chance to win two premierships in the same calendar year, having upset the Dragons to win the title in the delayed 2021 season that was held earlier this year.

Predictions: Roosters by eight points.

Jessica Sergis of the Roosters is tackled

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Dragons vs Titans
The Dragons are attempting to go one better after falling short in the final hurdle last season, losing to the Roosters in the grand final.

Jamie Soward’s side had been the most consistent of the competition, recording the largest win in their short history with a 40-4 thumping of the Newcastle Knights and reaching their second decider after previously losing to the Brisbane Broncos in 2019.

The Titans did well to reach the final four in their first season, before which a major highlight came when Brianna Clark kicked them to an upset win over the Broncos in the first NRLW South East Queensland Derby.

This will be the second consecutive season in which the Dragons and Titans meet in Round 1, and on that end the Red V will be going for three straight wins against the women from the Gold Coast.

Prediction: Dragons by eight points.

Knights vs Broncos
The Knights will look to improve on their winless debut campaign when they welcome three-time premiers the Broncos to McDonald Jones Stadium in the twilight.

Despite some competitive performances, Newcastle failed to win a match in the earlier NRLW season, and copped a record 40-4 loss to the Dragons at home in which only poor goalkicking from the Red V saved the Novocastrians from an even more embarrassing defeat.

Lighting the fuse for this match is the fact the home side have added ex-Broncos Tamika Upton and Millie Boyle to their playing stocks as they bid to be more competitive.

Despite being free of the pressure of being the reigning premiers, many expect the Broncos to again feature at the business end of the season, having had its premiership aura ended in a shock loss to the Roosters in the preliminary final at Leichhardt Oval earlier this year.

They will again be led by former Dally M Medallist Ali Brigginshaw, while they have added Brianna Clark (who notably snuck home a penalty goal to sink them in the south-east Queensland Derby) and Jaime Chapman to their playing list.

While the Knights would love to lift in front of their fans, the Broncos’ class should show out in the end.

Prediction: Broncos by 16 points.

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