2020 NRLW Grand Final Preview - Broncos v Roosters

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Brisbane Broncos v Sydney Roosters Sunday 4:05pm at Stadium Australia

The NRLW decider is upon us - and just a week after they met in the regular season, the Brisbane Broncos go for a third straight NRLW title against the Sydney Roosters.

Brisbane have been dominant across all three NRLW seasons to date and that was the case yet again in 2020, finishing the season undefeated through their three games. Despite suffering no losses, the Broncos haven't necessarily had things go entirely their way this time around, as they have had to score comeback victories as well as dealing with injury and suspension.

Starting their campaign with a come-from-behind victory over the Warriors, the Broncos had to overcome an 8-0 deficit early on before taking a 28-14 victory. Round 2 was anything but smooth sailing for the reigning champs with their 18-4 victory over the Dragons. The risk of suspension sat on the Broncos with both Amber Hall and Ali Brigginshaw charged by the Match Review Committee after the game - although only Hall was suspended. Last weekend, the Broncos took a 24-16 victory over the Roosters with both sides having one eye on this week's clash.

Ther are several positional changes for the Grand Final, Jayme Fressard returns to the centres for Brisbane whilst Chelsea Lenarduzzi is back in the starting line up with Shannon Mato dropped to the bench. Amber Hall also returns to the starting side after suspension whilst Ali Brigginshaw is named again at halfback with a positional switch expected again.
Match Preview continued

Having made the first NRLW grand final in 2018, the Sydney Roosters are back to exact revenge on the Brisbane Broncos for the inaugural decider and get their first ever win over the Broncos. The Tricolours have been the surprise packets of this season, qualifying for the Grand Final after the first two weeks despite their own injury concerns.

A convincing opening round win over the Dragons left many experts surprised given the Red ‘V' had moved into favouritism for the competition. The 18-4 victory for the Roosters didn't come without problems - injury to key player Botille Vette-Welsh hampered the campaign early. They booked their grand final spot in Round 2 when they scored a 22-12 over the Warriors. The final round saw the two grand-final sides take each other on and despite resting a number of key players, put in an encouraging performance in a 24-16 loss.

They have recalled Simaima Taufa and Hannah Southwell who were rested last weekend, with Dally M Rookie of the year Kennedy Cherrington dropping to the bench with Grace Hamilton. Vette-Welsh could be a chance of returning from her hamstring injury being named on the extended bench.

Last meeting: Round 3 2020 - Roosters 16 Broncos 24

Last Finals meeting: Grand Final 2018 - Broncos 34 Roosters 12

Who to watch: Broncos forward Chelsea Lenarduzzi has played an important role for her side during the 2020 season with her offloads causing issues for all other teams in the competition. She possesses strong speed as she brings the ball forward and her impact on the defensive line is key to the Broncos attack dragging three or four defenders in before having the strength to spin out and force an offload. Her offloads give the Broncos an extra attacking weapon that the Roosters will need to watch for.

Roosters halfback Zahara Temara has had her best season in the NRLW to date after taking control in the halfback role. After initially being rested by Roosters coach Jamie Feeney, Temara was brought back to the Tricolours side last weekend after star import Charlotte Caslick was withdrawn through injury, and was strong yet again. Her running and kicking game have been the strongest weapons for the Roosters and something that the Broncos will be on the look out for as they seek to keep the Queensland international quiet.

The favourite: Going through the competition undefeated, Brisbane will be favourites going into the grand final - particularly after last week's result.

My tip: Despite defeat last weekend, the Roosters were strong against the Broncos which could've seen the eight-point margin reduced if a try was awarded if not for a controversial forward pass call. The Roosters will be boosted by the return of Taufa and Southwell to the side that took to ANZ Stadium last Saturday. Brisbane will no doubt be playing a more expansive game than last weekend after adopting a somewhat conservative style by their standards. They should still have enough to defeat the Roosters but in a much closer game than 2018.

Margin: Broncos by 6
Karyn Murphy Medal: Ali Brigginshaw (Broncos)
First Tryscorer: Meg Ward (Broncos)

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

19. Botille Vette-Welsh 1. Shanice Parker 3. Corban McGregor 4. Yasmin Meakes 5. Brydie Parker 6. Melanie Howard 7. Zahara Temara 8. Simaima Taufa 9. Nita Maynard 10. Filomina Hanisi 11. Vanessa Foliaki 12. Sarah Togatuki 13. Hannah Southwell 14. Quincy Dodd 15. Kennedy Cherrington 16. Grace Hamilton 17. Jocelyn Kelleher

Referees: Belinda Sharpe; Sideline Officials: Drew Oultram, Liam Kennedy; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell;

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