Dragons celebrating a try in their previous match up. Photo: nrl.com

Who will win the highly anticipated 2021 NRLW Grand Final on Sunday? The Inner Sanctum provides an in-depth preview ahead of the big match.

After winning their way through to the 2021 NRLW Grand Final, the St. George Illawarra Dragons will take on the Sydney Roosters at Moreton Daily Stadium.

The Inner Sanctum provides you with a full preview of the match, giving you everything you need to know ahead of Sunday afternoon.

Last time they met

Remarkably, these two sides met just over a fortnight ago when they faced off in the fifth and final round of the regular season. This means that both sides will know what to expect from each other coming in, and it comes down to who has learnt what from the match.

The Dragons started the game on fire with a try in the seventh minute before the Roosters stemmed the flow to have the margin sitting at just 4-0 at the break.

However, they couldn’t keep the Dragons’ juggernaut at bay in the second half, with the girls in red and white scoring two tries in the opening six minutes of the half through Kody House and Emma Tonegato. The Dragons then got another try in the 58th minute through Madison Bartlett, putting the game beyond doubt.

Sydney fought back with two late tries, firstly through Sarah Togatuki and secondly through Isabelle Kelly, attempting to put pressure back on their opponent, but it was too little too late in the end as the Dragons took home a six-point victory.

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NRLW Weekend Wrap – Round 3

Key Players


Fresh off winning the Dally-M Medal, Emma Tonegato will need to be at her brilliant best if the Dragons are to get over the line. Tonegato has had one of the most dominant seasons of all time, with four tries, three try assists, six line-break assists, five line-break assists and 967 running metres. Tonegato dominated in the round five matchup, both defensively and offensively, and will be vital for the Dragons once again.

Leading the league with tries for the season, Madison Bartlett has been massive on the offensive end for St. George all season. Bartlett has five tries for the season, eight tackle breaks, five line-breaks and averages 81 running metres. If the Dragons can get the ball in the hands of Bartlett in dangerous positions, it’ll be tough for the Roosters to keep her under control.

On the defensive end, Keeley Davis has been brilliant all season long. Davis has the ability to get forward, and did so this season, scoring a try, collecting a try assist and forcing three line dropouts. However, on the defensive end, she has 140 tackles for the season. The defence which St. George have built, led by Davis has been brilliant and is one of the major reasons why the Dragons secured a top-two finish.


Isabelle Kelly has been one of the brightest talents in the NRLW all season long, and showed that again in last weekend’s semi-final win over the Broncos. Kelly has three tries for the season, along with two try-assists. However, one of the most impressive factors of Kelly’s season has been recording 28 tackle-breaks, and eight linebreaks. Kelly also has 344 post-contact metres, and 926 run metres.

Olivia Kernick has been one of the strongest players in the competition on both the defensive, and offensive end. Kernick has three tries for the season, as well as 220 tackles, including averaging 30 per game. The Roosters defence clicked into gear in round three, and it was largely due to the influence of Kernick.

Also starring on the defensive end, forward Hannah Southwell has played a terrific leading role in the Roosters resurgence to the grand final. The youngster has nine tackle breaks, 207 post contact metres, and 119 tackles. Southwell’s defence has been electric all season long, and has been enormous in the Roosters’ build toward the big dance.

The Verdict

Dragons by 4 points. The quality of Tonegato will prove too strong for the Roosters defence, on her way to winning the Karryn Murphy medal.

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