State of Origin next in stadium sights

Published 6:40pm 10 April 2022

State of Origin next in stadium sights
Words by Nick Crockford

The success of today’s NRL Women’s Grand Final may be a stepping stone to more major rugby league events at Moreton Daily Stadium.

Sydney Roosters came from 4-0 after just two minutes and trailing at half-time, to beat St George Illawara Dragons 16-4 with a dominant second half display before 7855 spectators.

Acting Mayor Jodie Shipway, who was there, described it as a “fabulous afternoon” and hoped the stadium would be “strongly considered for the next women’s State of Origin”.

“Plenty of parents with kids and plenty of young girls and women which was wonderful,” Cr Shipway said, “amazing grand final, both teams and kept us guessing until the end.

State of Origin next in stadium sights

“(Moreton Bay Regional) Council is extremely proud to partner with the state government on this event. Today showed how keen our community is to support events in our region.”

History will show the first stand alone NRL Women’s Grand Final was deservedly won by Sydney Roosters, who appeared to have the majority of fans in the stadium.

They squeezed into the finals, despite losing their first two games and final round of the regular season to Dragons and beat four-time premiers Brisbane Broncos in the semi-finals.

Madison Bartlett’s early try was defended, desperately at times, as Roosters had five scoring opportunities denied by a combination of teamwork and technology.

State of Origin next in stadium sights

But Yasmine Meakes found a way through in the 45th minute and the tide turned. Ten minutes later Isabelle Kelly produced a try-saving tackle before completing a fine move and scoring.

Three minutes from time, Olivia Higgins shrugged off two tackles to go over from close range and seal the grand final trophy. Zahara Temara landed two from three conversions.

Roosters coach John Strange admitted he was a “little bit overwhelmed with how they played out there”.

“The effort was the same (to last week against Broncos),” he said, “down 4-0 at half time there was still total belief. We just needed to change a couple of things up in the second half.

“We had to defend so many sets on our line. Just so proud of the girls.”

State of Origin next in stadium sights

Roosters captain Corban Baxter described Dragons as the “benchmark” this season and her team should be “very very proud” of themselves” for beating them.

Dragons’ coach Jamie Soward admitted defeat “hurt” and he felt “sorry” for the players who had worked so hard for him since preseason.

“Such a great group,” he said, “it’ll burn for a little while. Someone had to win and lose. We probably didn’t execute how we wanted to with the ball at different stages.

“Probably a bit unlucky with some calls out there. At the end though Roosters were the better team. They played smarter, ran harder. We just didn’t save our best ‘til last.”

Captain Kezie Abbs added: "To our girls I am so proud of you. We just regroup and come back next season."

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