Roosters coach John Strange believes Sunday’s NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership grand final is on track to eclipse previous deciders and go down as the closest in competition history.
Strange joined Dragons coach Jamie Soward and captains Kezie Apps and Corban Baxter on Friday to launch the NRLW grand final in Redcliffe, where the Roosters mentor welcomed a dry Queensland track for the grand final.
The Roosters and Dragons have piled on the points this season on their way to being the final two clubs and with a 27-degree day predicted at Moreton Daily Stadium, the humid conditions are set to come into play.
"I think it will suit both sides and most importantly we’ll see a really good game of footy between two sides," Strange said.
"Both teams like to move the ball and I think that’s going to create some theatre. I can see this going down to the wire and being an epic game."
After coaching the Roosters’ Central Coast feeder side to premierships in recent seasons, Strange has 10 players in his 17 who he’s coached previously at the lower grade level.
Glory awaits this Sunday
Both sides were among the hardest hit by NRLW expansion this season but have defied the odds to play for the trophy.
"Everyone wrote the Roosters off last week and it’s dangerous to write anyone off in any game," Soward said.
"They’ve got powerful outside backs, they’ve got a premiership-winning half and a State of Origin five-eighth in Zahara Temara.
"Their backline is really their strong point and then you look at their forwards… Sarah Togatuki and Hannah Southwell have set the platform so Corban [Baxter] and Raecene [McGregor] can play footy off the back of that.
"They’re a well-rounded team. In the short competition phase it’s often we get lost in they lost two games and maybe they’re not as good as we thought.
"Momentum is such big thing in rugby league. John has had them prepared and ready to go for the last month they’ve played it like a finals series."
Strange said the Dragons' biggest strength centred around their consistency, something the Tricolours have found the later the season has gone on.
"Similar to Sowie [Soward] they’ve got a really strong well-balanced side and have been consistent throughout the competition which is important," Strange said.
"They’ll take that confidence in. We’ve mentioned Emma [Tonegato] but you’ve got Chappo [Jaime Chapman] in the centres, their halves are going really well and have got Elsie [Albert] up front and Kezie [Apps] is experienced.
"Rachael [Pearson] is controlling the game at halfback. There’s going to be really good match-ups, to be honest."
An unreal NRLW season celebrated in style
For Apps and Baxter, who have been at their respective clubs since the introductions of the NRLW in 2018, their final address to their teammates says it all.
"It’s really important for the girls to be focused on their role," Apps said.
"To take it in, it’s really important to have a moment for that experience and then switching on and doing the role."
Baxter added, "Just soak it up, you don’t get the opportunities all too often. Not worrying about the outcome but rather the process to get there."
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.