Roosters v Warriors: NRLW Round 1 preview
History will be made with the Sydney Roosters and Warriors kicking off the NRL Holden Women's premiership in style at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.
The Tricolours will miss the chance to host at Moore Park in front of their faithful for the opening week of the finals due to broadcast and timing clashes.
The Roosters look a star-studded team on paper, led by newly appointed captain Simaima Taufa.
They face a new-look Warriors outfit buoyed by the chance to play before the men's side, who will take on Penrith immediately after in the first elimination final.
Coached by former Kiwi Ferns captain Luisa Avaiki, the side is capable of scoring a try from anywhere on the paddock and are coming off a 32-4 trial win over Auckland.
Match: Roosters v Warriors
Round 1 -
Venue: ANZ Stadium
- Nine Network
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Roosters: The Roosters will line up 1-17, with Ruan Sims (hamstring injury) withdrawing from the squad on Friday. Queensland five-eighth Zahara Temara has been named at lock in her place, while Botille Vette-Welsh comes in for Nakia Davis-Welsh, who is out for personal reasons. Reserve Sharon McGrady was cut an hour before kick-off.
Warriors: A few alterations for the Warriors, with Onjeurlina Laiataua shifting to the back-row and Tamika Jazz Noble-Bell dropping to the bench. Sarina Clark has been promoted from the bench to start at centre. Lorina Papali'i, mother of Warriors player Isaiah, will come off the bench in the mother-son double header on Saturday afternoon. Lisa Edwards was the last player cut an hour prior to kick-off.
Key match-up: Both veterans in the game, Laura Mariu and Lavina O'Mealey will battle it out in the halves to help guide their side to a win. Mariu is an experienced playmaker who acts as a calming influence on the squad. O'Mealey, who is in the final year of her career, is an attacking runner with a kicking game that could bring the new 40/30 rule into play.
For the Roosters to win: They'll have to overcome first-up jitters and playing in front of a Warriors-dominated crowd but if their forward pack fires it should set up a win for the Tricolours. Roosters halves pairing Maddie Studdon and Lavina O'Mealey are at the top of their game, while Isabelle Kelly is one of the best players in the league.
For the Warriors to win: There is no doubting the side's experience and that will be their advantage. Most of the players have already built combinations over the years with 18 of 22 players in the squad having current or former experience at the international level. Backed with a Warriors faithful behind them, it could be the key to a first round victory.
And another thing: Sydney Roosters foundation members have been offered a complimentary ticket as part of their membership package with the women's side playing at Sydney Olympic Park hours before the men's clash at Allianz Stadium.
Tarsha Gale's preview: The Roosters boast a star-studded pack with a wealth of talent and experience. They have 10 NSW origin players who will already have gelled from that experience. The strength in the forward pack with Elianna Walton and Vanessa Foliaki could well be the deciding factor.
Roosters by 8.