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McGregor answers SOS as fullback call looms

Corban Baxter, Isabelle Kelly or Jessica Sergis?

It's the selection headache any coach would dream to have but will be crucial to the Roosters and their title chances with John Strange weighing up which of the trio will play fullback to start the NRLW season.

In his first campaign in charge of the Tricolours, Strange is keeping his cards close to his chest on who will replace Botille Vette-Welsh in the No.1 jersey ahead of their season opener against Brisbane.

"That's probably the only position I've got to finalise before the team gets announced on Tuesday," Strange told NRL.com.

"It's vital we get the fullback spot right. Corbs [Baxter] is more of a ball player, Jess [Sergis] is a hole runner and Issy [Kelly] will be that combination between the two.

"They're all going to be starting, without a doubt, but it's just about finalising where. There's also a chance I might flip it during a game. We've got a couple of training sessions left before I make a call."

Adding further to Strange's decision, the Roosters have swooped in late to secure Maori Ferns halfback Raecene McGregor after she made a successful comeback from a shoulder reconstruction last week.

Raecene McGregor is a late pick-up for the Roosters.
Raecene McGregor is a late pick-up for the Roosters. ©NRL Photos

A broken hand to former Bronco Chante Temara has opened the door for McGregor to resume her NRLW career after it appeared to be paused by the current points system in place.

McGregor, who is among one of the premier halves in the game, will provide further versatility for the Roosters in the halves and at hooker.

"Unfortunately the hand injury to Chante has ruled her out of this campaign and at her age we didn't want to try and rush her back," Strange said.

"When I realised Raecene was potentially available I was really excited to be able to bring her in.

"There are no guarantees of where she will play because the girls have been training really hard but to get someone of her calibre and experience at this time of the pre-season is fantastic."

The Roosters are looking to build on their 2020 campaign, where they fell short to the Broncos in the grand final for the second time in NRLW history.

Strange was an assistant coach to Jamie Feeney during that time but now gets a chance to step into the leading role.

He'll face no greater test than the defending premiers at McDonald Jones Stadium to open the season.

Kelly full of anticipation for NRLW 2021

"I'm not interested in it being a grand final replay or that we've got the Broncos in Newcastle to start," Strange said.

"We've just got to go out there and start the season well. We've worked really hard at training on being connected.

"I don't want any of the girls playing like they feel like they have to do it on their own."

 

Be there for round one of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership on February 27. Ticket prices start at just $12 for adults, and juniors under 15 can redeem a free general admission ticket with any paying adult. Visit nrl.com/tickets

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