ROUND 5 NRLW (2021) TELSTRA PREMIERSHIP
SUNDAY MARCH 27, 2022
BRONCOS 38 defeated EELS 4
What an unfortunate way for the Eels girls to bow out in their inaugural season.
Parramatta were put to the sword by the might and class of the Brisbane Broncos, resulting in the Roosters taking the final top four place via points differential.
The Broncos have been the champion team since the inception of the NRLW competition, and there’s a reason for that. They have elite players in key positions, and when they need to go to another gear they invariably find it.
Ellie Johnston was the only Eel to cross the try line in the 11th minute, and after the early pressure and points had favoured the Broncos, hopes were raised that the Eels could fight their way back.
Even though the score was 16 – 4 at the break, the Eels were still clinging to fourth spot on the ladder.
However, the loss of Eels superstar fullback Botille Vette-Welsh to a serious knee injury in the 16th minute had taken its toll on the Eels attacking structure. The Broncos were always going to score more points so Parra needed to post their own tries if they wanted to match them.
When Maddie Studdon also fell to injury, the Eels playmaker stocks were decimated and any chance they had to make a comeback was effectively eliminated.
Fatigue ultimately got the better of the girls, and the Broncos were able to capitalise on this and run away with the match and minor premiership.
The Key Numbers
The Broncos completely dominated every match statistic.
They enjoyed 64% possession and made full use of it by completing at 88%.
In contrast, the Eels 36% possession was further diminished by a completion rate of only 68%. No team can achieve any level of momentum with numbers like that.
Tiana Penitani was shifted to fullback following the injury to BVW and topped the Eels running metres with 121 followed by Kennedy Cherrington with 100 running metres.
In defence, Parra’s inspirational skipper Simaima Taufa again topped the tackle count with 47 tackles with, wait for it, zero missed.
As far as discipline is concerned, the Eels gave away 8 penalties and made 4 errors.
The Telling Stat
Rugby league is always played under fatigue, and it’s the team who either deals with it best, or forces more on their opposition that usually will get the points.
Here’s how that fatigue factor was created in this match.
The Eels made 309 tackles compared to the Broncos paltry 174.
It was a massive defensive effort and it started from the opening whistle. The Eels players were completely gassed and didn’t have the energy to compete with such a classy and talented team.
The Eels inaugural season must be viewed as a success.
Qualifying for finals footy would have been the goal but they competed strongly in all but this round 5 clash and showed that with further development and additions to the squad they will be a force in coming seasons.
Combinations will grow and thrive, and confidence will improve, especially amongst the younger players.
The forward pack can match it with the best, and the new halves pairing of Curtain and Studdon will hopefully get more time together later this year.
Thank you girls for your commitment and sacrifice in this inaugural season. You showed great pride in the Blue and Gold and wore the jersey with pride.
Massive shout out to coach Dean WIdders for moulding this team into a competitive unit in a very short and Covid interrupted preseason.
I’m looking forward to the 2022 Premiership later on this year.
Yours in Blue and Gold