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NRLW Grand Final: Key match-ups that will decide winner

They're the key match ups that will help decide the winner of the NRL Telstra Women's Premiership grand final between the Dragons and Roosters on Sunday.

From the fullback and centre duels to the middle and bench, every position presents fascinating individual match-ups in the decider.

NRL.com takes a look at where the game could be won or lost.

Emma Tonegato v Corban Baxter

Recently-crowned Dally M winner Emma Tonegato will have an influential say on the game with her impact for the Dragons evident in their past six matches.

Tonegato has been a star of the show for the season, scoring four tries in six games along with three try assists, six line break assists, five line breaks and 967 running metres.

Baxter missed the opening two rounds of the NRLW season due to a positive COVID-19 test but it’s no secret the Roosters have found form in line with her return. Baxter offers security at fullback and is a strong kick returner who gets the side on the front foot.

An unreal NRLW season celebrated in style

Jessica Sergis v Page McGregor

It’s hard to keep someone of Sergis’ calibre quiet for too long but McGregor has shown throughout this NRLW campaign that she’s one of the best defensive centres in the competition.

Sergis is a big game player who will relish the chance to take on her former side in such a huge occasion and after tasting grand final defeat previously.

McGregor's defensive attributes are among her biggest strengths and if the Dragons are to win the game, containing Sergis is key particularly as the two side's begin to tire late in the contest.

Isabelle Kelly v Jaime Chapman

Chapman’s switch to the centres this season has provided the Red V with another element of attack on the right edge with her battle against Isabelle Kelly one of the match-ups of the weekend.

Kelly is a proven performer on the big stage and is churning out the work with ease on the left edge. Her combination with Brydie Parker on the left attacking edge has produced six tries between them.

Elsie Albert v Sarah Togatuki

Both try scorers the last time the two sides played and easily the most powerful ball runners in the middle. Albert has been a powerhouse for the Dragons, taking her game to new heights under Jamie Soward to average 144 metres per game. 

It's her post-contact yardage and offloading ability that has proven hardest to handle while the Roosters will need to be on alert for her strong carries close to the line.

Togatuki, fresh off successfully gaining a downgrade to play in the NRLW grand final, will play in her third decider and is fast becoming one of the best forwards in the game after moving into the middle.

Like Albert, she has crossed the line this season from close range through pure force.

Rachael Pearson v Raecene McGregor

The battle of the halves is always an area of focus in big matches but none more so than this weekend.

Pearson started her NRLW career in impressive fashion but has slipped a little with a back injury halting her momentum midway through the season.

She's now back to full fitness and with a strong kicking game she'll need to be shut down.

McGregor is a two-time premiership winner after tasting success at the Broncos and has the international experience to match.

Along with Zahara Temara, who will control the left edge in attack, they need to bring their best on Sunday and allow their outside backs (their strength) some early ball.

These young guns have fired in the 2021 NRLW!

Shaylee Bent v Yasmin Meakes

Both representative players have found significant form this season with an underrated little match-up on the edge.

Bent has been a mainstay at the Dragons since 2018 and will have the task of managing Meakes, who has relished her back-row move of late, averaging 116 metres per game in the past month.

Quincy Dodd v Jocelyn Kelleher

A crucial bench match-up awaits with both players offering a different style of play for their respective sides.

Dodd’s inclusion on the field allows Keeley Davis to play more of a ball-playing role in the middle of the paddock with Dragons’ attack changing halfway through the game.

Kelleher’s move to the bench in recent weeks is paying off for John Strange with the playmaker doing a job as a utility and like Dodd, bringing a different element to the side’s attack midway through the contest.

 

Be front and centre as our Grand Final teams battle it out to lift the premiership trophy! Tickets start from just $15 for adults. Juniors aged 15yrs and under can enter FREE with a paying adult. Secure your seat at nrl.com/tickets.

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