The Broncos and Warriors clash at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground in the final round of the Holden Women's Premiership and the result could go a long way in determining the grand final make-up on October 6.
A Broncos victory will leave the Warriors vulnerable in their pursuit of a grand final spot, while a Warriors win will put pressure on the Dragons to defeat the Roosters less than 24 hours later at Leichhardt Oval.
The grandstand finish could also see the Broncos, Warriors and Dragons finish on two victories each with points differential coming into play.
The Warriors matched the Dragons last start until they fell away defensively in the final 15 minutes. Their opening two games have been solid but they're missing a strike player like Honey Hireme in their backline.
Defending premiers the Broncos continued on their undefeated ways with a 20-0 thrashing of the Roosters to emerge as serious title defenders.
Broncos: The Broncos will line up 1-17 as named on Tuesday. Tamika Upton has been named to return on the wing after missing a week with a leg injury. Meg Ward shifts to the reserves in an otherwise unchanged line-up. Heather Ballinger and Rosemary Vaimili Toalepai were the first players cut from the extended squad on Friday, while Meg ward and Taylor Mapusa were omitted on game day.
Warriors: Several alterations for the Warriors, with five-eighth Roela Radiniyavuni and prop Aieshaleigh Smalley replaced in the starting line-up by Georgia Hale and Billy-Jean Ale. Tanika Jazz Noble-Bell was promoted to the bench, Onjeurlina Leiataua was moved to the back-row, while Kathleen Wharton-Keremete will play lock. Madison Bartlett, Amber Kani and Tasia Seumanufagai return to the 17 after missing last week's loss to the Dragons.
A couple of international team-mates will go head-to-head in a clash that could determine the result. Broncos prop Amber Hall has been impressive in her past two NRLW performances and equally matched by Warriors forward Annette Nuuausala. Hall ran for another 131 metres against the Roosters, while Nuuausala ran a game-high 90 metres in the loss to the Dragons. Look for these two to try and stamp their authority early.
For the Broncos to win
The old cliche of just sticking to the basics applies for this team, which is getting better as the competition progresses and similar to Brisbane's inaugural season. Their new recruits have settled in well and are motoring through the middle. If they can contain a Warriors forward pack which has shown dominant periods at stages than they'll be too tough to beat on that basis alone.
Match Highlights: Warriors v Dragons
For the Warriors to win
They'll need to contain a Broncos attack that produced a dominant 108 support efforts last week, and 70 in round one. Compare that to the Warriors' 30 and 56 over the past two rounds and the Broncos have got plenty of players in motion through decoy and set plays. The Warriors' line speed will need to get back to its best, as seen in the opening round, and make sure they take their opportunities when they come from close range.
Completion rates are everything in the 60-minute game format and shortened competition. The Broncos have completed at an average of 75 per cent, while the Warriors have gone even better for 79 per cent. If both teams can replicate this statistic, then a high-quality game should be on the cards.
And another thing ...
The clash will be played at the SCG prior to the Roosters and Storm men's blockbuster after the NRL announced a stand-alone fixture between the Roosters and Dragons on Sunday at Leichhardt Oval.
Tarsha Gale says...
Completion rates and field position are vital in this game. Ali Brigginshaw and Chantay Poko both have great kicking games and I expect to see at least one 40/30 from both teams. Broncos by 12
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