Dragons v Broncos NRLW preview

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St George Illawarra Dragons v Brisbane Broncos Saturday 4:00pm at Bankwest Stadium

The second of Saturday afternoon's NRLW double header sees the grand final rematch between the St George Illawarra Dragons and Brisbane Broncos at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

The Dragons were installed as competition favourites pre-season but have lost that title following their 18-4 defeat to the Sydney Roosters last Saturday afternoon in Canberra. The Red ‘V' struggled last weekend in their defeat to the Roosters which wasn't helped by a mounting injury toll to key stars including Jess Sergis and Kezie Apps. The Dragons were outplayed by the Roosters who kept them to just one try which came just seven minutes into the game.

Having had a similar squad to 2019, the Dragons have added experience to their side with veteran Steph Hancock joining the squad and made a strong impact on debut in both defence and most surprisingly one of the best torpedo kicks you'll see. The Dragons were also boosted by the return of Sam Bremner who missed last season as well as the signing of Isabelle Kelly who helped the club to win the NRLW 9s in Perth at the beginning of the year.

Despite having a mounting injury toll during last weekend's clash, the Dragons have been able to name the same 17 players that took to the field last week with the likelihood of a swap between Ellie Johnston and Aliyah Fasavalu-Fa'amausili with the latter starting after being named on the bench.

The Brisbane Broncos hopes of winning a third successive NRLW title started in the best possible fashion with a 28-14 victory over the New Zealand Warriors last week in Canberra. The Broncos had to do it the hard way having to come from 8-0 down early to take victory. A first-half hattrick to fullback Tamika Upton was the turning point with the fullback dominating and leaving the Warriors defence in two minds.

The Broncos have again been able to keep the majority of their squad for the competition which has boosted their campaign for 2020. Despite initially signing Ellia Green before Green's move to Warriors, the Broncos' strong framework with the likes of Ali Brigginshaw and Raecene McGregor leading the attack, the Queenslanders will be hard to stop.

Despite leaving the field in a neck brace and on the medicab, Raecene McGregor was given the all clear to play this weekend and has been named in the number 6 jersey for Brisbane. The injury to McGregor was the only injury concern for the Broncos who have kept the same 1-17 from last week's clash against the Warriors.

Last meeting: Grand Final 2019 - Broncos 30 Dragons 6

Who to watch: The Dragons' new signing for 2020, PNG international Elsie Albert made an impact instantly last week with some brutal defence against the Roosters. Albert is a strong ball runner and her first NRLW hit out will be a massive boost for the youngster who will be required by the Dragons to put pressure on the playmakers in defence and make metres out of their own end.

After scoring a hattrick last weekend, Tamika Upton will have the eyes of the NRLW world on her to see if she can replicate the performance. Upton ran for 192m last weekend against the Warriors which was a big part of the momentum that the Broncos were able to build. The Broncos will need a similar performance from her at the back if they want to match the Dragons

The favourite: Deciding the favourites for this game is a toss-up, the Broncos come into the game off a victory but the Dragons came into the competition as favourites over all. The differences between the two sides on paper is minimal.

My tip: The Dragons were just plain last weekend, but the impact of losing key players through the game hurt them and if they can keep their main stars fit and on the park, they will push the Broncos. The experience of the Broncos though might be too much for the Dragons, they were impressive against the Warriors and just little aspects of their game will help them to victory. Broncos by 6.

1. Sam Bremner 2. Tiana Penitani 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Jaime Chapman 9. Keeley Davis 7. Maddie Studdon 8. Ellie Johnston 14. Aaliyah Fasavalu-faamausili 10. Stephanie Hancock 11. Kezie Apps 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Elsie Albert 15. Christine Pauli 16. Talei Holmes 17. Mahalia Murphy 22. Georgia Page

1. Tamika Upton 2. Lauren Brown 3. Julia Robinson 4. Jayme Fressard 5. Meg Ward 6. Raecene McGregor 13. Tarryn Aiken 8. Millie Boyle 9. Lavinia Gould 10. Chelsea Lenarduzzi 11. Amber Hall 15. Tallisha Harden 7. Ali Brigginshaw 12. Jessika Elliston 14. Annette Brander 16. Shannon Mato 17. Shenae Ciesiolka

Referees: Belinda Sharpe; Sideline Officials: Jon Stone, Liam Kennedy; Video Referees: Steve Clark;

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