It was the final round of the NRL Women’s season, and three of the four teams playing at Suncorp were looking towards finals appearances. Coming into today, the Dragons had already qualified, while the Roosters had to hope results went in their favour.
Coming into the game, the Titans simply had to win to book their place in the finals. The Knights started off on the right foot, after a ball bouncing over Hailee-Jay Maunsell’s head, setting up debutant Paige Parker for an easy try.
However, from there, errors prevented either team from gaining momentum. The Titans spent a heavy portion of the first half with the ball, due to numerous errors from the Knights. However Newcastle’s defence remained tough, and they kept the 6-0 lead through half time.
This continued for the beginning of the second half, with Newcastle eventually getting a huge line break from Katelyn Vaha'akolo. However, an error right before the try line caused this to be all for nothing.
The Titans responded to this error by continuing to attack, with Jessika Elliston getting the breakthrough.
Newcastle continued to provide effort on defence, but the workload caused fatigue, causing them to allow Hailee-Jay Maunsell through their line to take the lead.
Katelyn Vaha'akolo made up for her earlier error, with another linebreak, this time with a try. This celebration did not last long for Newcastle, who soon after conceded a Karina Brown linebreak for the game winning try.
This result meant that the Titans secure a semi final berth, and the Knights finish their inaugural season without a win.
The second game was a lot less close. The Broncos needed to win by 20 or more for the minor premiership, and they showed intent early. It took them only four minutes for Emily Bass to score the first try of the game. By the seven minute mark, the margin had been extended to 10-0.
Ellie Johnston gave the Eels some hope with their sole try of the game, but from there it all went downhill.
Shenae Ciesiolka was next over the tryline for the Broncos, for a 16-4 lead, which remained going into half time.
Hagiga Mosby scored in the second half, before captain Ali Brigginshaw took things into her own hands, giving Brisbane the 20 point lead needed.
From here, the Broncos kept the pressure on, with Amber Hall and a second try from Shenae Ciesiolka rounding out the scoring.
After the game, Broncos coach Kelvin Wright commented that while the minor premiership was a good achievement, they had other goals.
“It’s a nice little win along the way, but it’s not the trophy you set out to win," Wright said.
“Going into next week, we’ll have to be on our A game. We’re gonna have to put out the best performance we possibly can to make sure we progress.”
The Eels on the other hand had a very different tone postgame.
“It was a tough job here today, to do what we had to do,” confessed Eels coach Dean Widders.
With these results, the matchups for the finals are set. After a tough start to the season, the Roosters face the challenge of the Broncos. Meanwhile, the Titans have a chance to avenge their Round One defeat at the hands of the Dragons.
For the other two teams, the Knights and the Eels, it’s back to the drawing board, as they try to figure out the changes needed for the next season in August.