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Top three continue to dominate as bottom three search for first win




Week 2 of the Women’s National Rugby League premiership saw the top three teams continue their dominance over the bottom three but what was pleasing this round were some closer contests with big improvement from the Parramatta Eels and Gold Coast Titans. Here’s your talking points.

Razzle dazzle Raecene McGregor

The Sydney Roosters once again impressed in Round 2 with a 28-8 victory over the Brisbane Broncos, handing the Broncos their third consecutive loss in the history of the NRLW.

There were several players who impressed for the Tricolours including Olivia Kernick who bagged a double, Isabelle Kelly and another dominant performance by Sam Bremner who ran 100 metres, but it was Roosters playmaker Raecene McGregor who stole the show.

McGregor’s stats at the end of the game included a try assist, two line breaks and 163 metres. She troubled her former team every time she had her hands on the ball and proved how much of an impact an established player in the halves can make.

She will certainly be one to watch for the Kiwi Ferns at the end of the year at the Rugby League World Cup.

Separately, special mention to Stephanie Hancock from the Gold Coast Titans who scored another try in her side’s loss to the Newcastle Knights, to match the double she scored last week. This makes Hancock, at age 41, the competition’s leading try-scorer.

Stephanie Hancock runs the ball against Newcastle

(Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

She had plenty of support in the crowd too with Tannah Boyd, AJ Brimson and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui cheering on the NRLW team from the stands after the NRL team beat the Newcastle Knights 36-26.

Fans priced out of watching games

On Sunday, I decided it would be fun to head out to CommBank Stadium to cheer on the Parramatta Eels in their second game against the St George Illawarra Dragons. But it turns out I didn’t think this plan through, with an NRL game scheduled straight after between the Wests Tigers and the St George Illawarra Dragons.

I am not completely against doubleheaders, but in this circumstance, to get into the game you had to have a ticket for the men’s game. With the match being a Tigers home game, it’s unclear to me whether Dragons NRLW members would have had the chance to watch their team either.

I have an NRLW membership and I know many others who do too; but it seems little more than a show of support for your team.

I understand that scheduling has been done this way mostly for the broadcast, but I know of many people who have an interest in going to the NRLW, with very little interest in watching the NRL or paying the ticket prices for a men’s game.

I wonder if an alternative could be to have a certain bay in the stadium where NRLW members can sit and then vacating this section of the ground at the end of the NRLW game.

I don’t think it’s an optimal situation that the only way I could have watched the Eels NRLW team today was to purchase a ticket to the Tigers-Dragons match, and I think there will be a missed opportunity for fans to get out to the NRLW in coming weeks, with sell-out games as teams edge closer to the finals.

Clear leaders but who gets that fourth spot?

At the end of Round 2, it seems clear to me that there are three contenders for the premiership: the Roosters, Dragons and Knights.

These two teams finish Round 2 with two wins from two.

What is unclear is who will jag that fourth spot, with the other three teams winless heading into Round 3.

The Eels and Titans showed improvement, while it’s clear that the number of players that the Broncos lost is really having an impact. I’m looking forward to the coming weeks where we will see these three teams play each other and battle it out to be that final team in the top four.

Quick hits

• The Broncos have some challenges, but Tarryn Aitken has been impressive, scoring another two tries.

• There were injury concerns for the Roosters with Jessica Sergis leaving the field early in the second half with a hamstring injury, Sarah Togatuki looking uncomfortable with a rib injury, Jayme Fressard with a leg cut and Sam Bremner also not finishing the game.

Jessica Sergis of the Roosters is tackled

(Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

• The Roosters will also be sweating on Keilee Joseph, who was placed on report for a high drop tackle and also Destiny Brill, who was reported for a dangerous tackle.

• More injury concerns but this time for the Dragons, who lost Talei Holmes to a knee injury.

• Tiana Penitani and Gayle Broughton looked like a formidable combination for the Eels, with Penitani running 186 metres and finishing with a try and try assist.

• Rachael Pearson may need some extra kicking practice this week, with the halfback (uncharacteristically) missing all her conversion attempts.

• Discipline seemed to be a problem for the Titans with Hancock, Laikha Clarke and Brittany Breayley-Nati all placed on report.

To the next

It’s a big week for the Roosters, who not only play competition standouts the Dragons, but will also be playing for the first time at the new Allianz Stadium.

One out of the Broncos and the Titans will get their first win of the season with the local derby at Moreton Daily Stadium, and the assignment does not get any easier for the winless Eels, travelling to Newcastle to face the in-form Knights.





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