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    NRL preliminary final: Storm v Sharks, plus NRLW - live! /Link

    • Melbourne v Cronulla-Sutherland from AAMI Park
    • NRL Women’s Premiership round 3 Broncos v Warriors
    • Thoughts? Get in touch on email or tweet @rrjparkin

    I mean, you don’t care to write them off, especially now that they’re buoyed by the enduring love of new prime minister Scott “Sharkies” Morrison, the boys from the Shire, but on those two 17s alone; well.. they’ll need absolutely every man at their best tonight.

    Don’t forget they did enjoy the double over the Storm this season; but without Gallen or Graham the odds of a three-peat are heavily diminished. Aaron Woods though – that’s one hell of a “replacement” forward to bring in to your starting XIII.

    Without further ado, your respective teams for tonight:


    Righty, right.

    We’ve seen one belting game of league today already, but there’s a fair bit of feeling for this one – a new grudge match of sorts, lessened only a fraction by the absence of Captain Niggle himself, Paul Gallen.

    We’ll be back with the Storm v Sharks NRL preliminary final shortly – I’m just ducking out to grab some athlete’s fuel. And to digest that impressive Brisbane performance.

    Don’t go anywhere.

    For anyone who’s come to AAMI Park for the Storm-Sharks preliminary final tonight having never watched a game of women’s rugby league, wow. Could they have seen a better advert for the game than this?

    Brisbane the first team to qualify for the inaugural Women’s Premiership grand final, and in the end they were just too strong across the park for a hard-working Warriors side.

    55 min: A bit of razzle-dazzle from the Broncos, they’ve got no interest in taking the foot off the accelerator here, in news that must delight the Dragons/Roosters who will be no doubt watching this match keenly.

    Fotu-Moala with a show-and-go one hand offer, before putting it on the toe, but her grubbered kick rolls dead in-goal.

    51 min: Ooph. And it’s technically the correct ruling, but gee, they’ve got right to feel hard done by the Warriors.

    She’s got a name you won’t forget and she conjured a try to match, did Masuisuimatamaalii Tauaua-Pauaraisa – but it’s been rubbed out due to an obstruction in the lead up. Gutted!

    45 min: She’s only new to the game, but she’s making a big impression quickly is Robinson – there looked a wall of white and purple in her way, but the tall winger has just launched over them! It’s the full superman, or should we say superwoman, dive to clear her opponents. Brilliant stuff to finish a fine flowing move, with Kimiora Nati’s double cutout sparking the attack.

    Finally Baker misses one, she was beginning to look a bit Halligan-esque with the boot tonight.

    43 min: Another nervy moment for the Brisbane bench, as Chelsea Baker stays down injured. She had a nervy fumble early on, but almost everything she’s touched since then has rained gold. She’s back up, and hopefully can soldier on. Key player – Broncos fans will be tracking her progress over these final fifteen minutes.

    39 min: Ooph, heartbreaking for the Warriors, what a game of margins.

    They looked to have lost the opportunity had the Broncos, but an offload from Baker kept the play alive. Brigginshaw with an improvised kick for the corner that just eluded the Warriors fullback as House flew in to try and ground. We went upstairs for the video, and the faintest of touches from House – literally one frame – before scrambling defence could clear the ball.

    38 min: Two hugely impressive passages of play, at both ends. Smalley with the offload to give Rota a shot at the line, but the hooker opted to take on the line rather than spread wide and the Broncos defence scrambled brilliantly to force an error.

    Then, moments later a brilliant bust from Baker looked like it would put the Broncos in for another, only for a flying Apii Nicholls to cut her opposite number down. Absolutely textbook tackle – show that to your daughters, terrific technique from the Warriors fullback!

    A sizeable break in play after concern for Maitua Feterika, who leaves the pitch with a nasty knee injury.

    If you were in any doubt about the pace of Breayley, check out that mazy run for the try! Like Usain Bolt at training with the Central Coast Mariners, you’d imagine – no one’s come close to catching her.

    Breayley goes for a run from half! #NRLWBroncosWarriors 22-10 after 33 minutes. #NRLW pic.twitter.com/IER16WHmqv

    30 min: Phwaor! Move over Damien Cook – you’d struggle to see a better dummy half run than this from the Broncos’ No 9. Just her second run all game, but she noticed the marker was slow to square up, and glided brilliantly through the Warriors line.

    Baker with another impressive conversion attempt; she’s slotted that one from the sideline as well!

    It’s the Broncos bringing it out from their own line and they’re straight on the attack. Looking to gain some early metres.

    Well, an end-to-end pulsating first thirty in this one, with both sides well and truly committed to attacking footy. It’s the favourites, the Broncos, by a nose, at the interval, as they look to enter next week’s grand final as the competition’s only undefeated team.

    Don’t pre-write that story line though, as there are thirteen women in white and purple pretty eager to ensure that’s no fait accompli. Massive half to come!

    25 min: Huge tackle, Brigginshaw! Nicholls with the final tackle run, and the five-eight Mariu with a well-disguised short pass to put it on her chest, but with the fullback flying through she’s scythed down mid-flight by the Broncos halfback!

    Absolute try-saver.

    19 min: Do you reckon both these sides want to make the grand final? It’s like watching two heavyweight boxers out there trading blow for blow – whatever either can muster, the other has equalled.

    Terrific hands once again, from Breayley to Brigginshaw and it ends with Te Kawa in the corner.

    15 min: Blink and you’ll miss this one. They’ve scored 10 across 60 minutes in both their Women’s Premiership games thus far this season; but it’s taken just a quarter of that for the Warriors to reach that tally today.

    Some of the Broncos forwards getting caught centrally as the Warriors shifted with a quick cutout pass. There was an attempted intercept from a Broncos back but it ended with ball-to-ground, and thank you very much, says Georgia Hale.

    11 min: They’ve made quick work turning this around, the favourites – looks like plenty of points to come tonight.

    Magic hands from Breayley, as the hooker drew her opposite numbers before getting it wide through the hands. Robinson too quick, and she glides through in the corner. A convert from netball, the winger, so no issues with the handling or the grounding.

    And profuse apologies, like an email lurking in your drafts folder I just noticed I never fired through the team news pre-game. Here’s how our two combatants square up:


    9 min: And how’s that for a response! They saw almost none of the pill to start the match, but in their first meaningful attack the Broncos have struck straight back.

    A good ball on the chest for Peters, and there was no stopping her from close range. No sisters in sight!

    5 min: Wowee. Well they’ve enjoyed near sustained pressure over the opening first five minutes, the Warriors, but ultimately it’s an error that’s finally allowed the visitors in.

    A clever grubber through from Laura Mariu looked to be covered by Broncos fullback Chelsea Baker, but a fumble gifted the on-rushing Aieshaleigh Smalley, who crashed over from close range.

    And we’re underway – with some robust tackles to start from the Brisbane defence, as the Warriors start with ball in hand!

    It’s an early penalty to the Warriors, and they kick for touch (just!) to set up for some positive early field position.

    G’day / Kia Ora! From wherever you’re following this NRLW coverage I guess.

    Plenty of interest on both sides of the ditch for this one, where the Warriors’ season is on the line, as they seek to bounce back from a disappointing loss last week to the Dragons.

    Nothing adds fire to a preliminary final like a nice round of tit-for-tat pre-match verbals, and in that regard both Cronulla and Melbourne camps have arrived with plenty of fuel.

    Sharks Prop Matt Prior lit the first jiffy with the casual observation that Melbourne’s players try to “wrestle your head off” with coach Shane Flanagan doubling down with a reference to the Storm’s track record of “wrestle, push or shove”.

    Continue reading...

    (@)Richard Parkin

    Published on 21 Sep 2018 at 09:40AM

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