05/03/2024

The Parramatta Eels went up against the Sydney Roosters for the opening game of the 2022 NRLW season. (Image: Parramatta Eels/Twitter)

The season opener of the 2022 NRLW commenced with defending premiers the Sydney Roosters showing off their powerful attacking game Commbank Stadium.

The Roosters opened the game with three tries in the first 13 minutes, missing the conversion on each, attacking the Eels’ edge defence and middle of the ruck.

Jayme Fressard scored in the seventh minute in the corner, and Isabelle Kelly scored her first career double on both sides of the defence, playing out the back in the Roosters’ set plays. 

The Eels’ poor defence was further hurt by the cheap penalties they were conceding, allowing the Roosters to gain field position and high-quality opportunities for points.

After going set for set with the Roosters, the Eels scored two tries in four minutes. Seli Mailangi scored from dummy half close to the line, and Simaima Taufa scored a try after the Roosters mishandled a grubber kick close to their line from Brooke Anderson.

The try to Vanessa Foliaki on the right edge came from an in-line short ball from halfback Losana Lutu, putting Foliaki in space with less than 10 metres to put the game within two points.

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The first half was 18-16 in the Roosters’ favour, with both teams making it a contest with their physicality and impressive ball movement side to side.

The second half saw the Roosters dominate field position and territory, scoring more tries with Sam Bremner playing out the back and moving the ball to the wingers and edge players. 

Tries to Olivia Kernick and Shaniah Power on the right edge and a second try to Fressard off the scrum after another Eels error saw the Roosters margin blow out, playing at a pass from the previous set.

The Eels allowed the Roosters to be on the 50-metre line by the third tackle in most sets. The Roosters picked up the pace and gained field position, especially when the Eels continued to concede penalties.

Bremner was the stand-out player in her first game back after being out for multiple seasons with injury and pregnancy. She had three try assists, 171 running metres, 11 tackle breaks, and three line breaks and two line break assists in her return to the NRLW.

The Eels were promising when they were playing set for set with the Roosters and getting field position as a result of strong defence, allowing the spine to combine in various ways around the Roosters’ ruck. 

Their poor defence and lack of intensity on defence allowed the Roosters to play with space and move the offence around however. They were able to put their halves and Bremner in spots where they could attack the Eels’ defensive line filled with big gaps, and were not sliding in sync with each other.

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