Roosters end Broncos’ NRLW reign to qualify for grand final showdown with Dragons

Brisbane’s great NRLW dynasty is over after the Sydney Roosters shocked them 22-16 in their semi-final to booked a date with St George Illawarra in the title decider.

Champions in all three previous editions of the NRLW, Brisbane looked as if they had a spot in a fourth grand final locked in when they led 16-0 after just 13 minutes at Leichhardt Oval on Sunday.

But in the greatest upset in the competition’s history, the Roosters fought back to lead by six with 10 minutes to go and held on to win.

It was only the third loss in Brisbane’s NRLW history, with both of the others coming in dead rubbers when their finals spot was assured.

Remarkably, the Roosters only made the finals when Brisbane flogged Parramatta by more than 15 last week, allowing the Tri-colours to sneak into fourth.

But after spending most of the season missing at least one of their backline stars, they suddenly clicked late in the first half.

Down by 16 points and down to 12 women with Olivia Higgins in the sin-bin, the Roosters’ first try came when Raecene McGregor offloaded for Isabelle Kelly to score.

Corban Baxter chimed in with a superb lofted cut-out ball on half-time for Leianne Tufuga to pounce for a try.

After four seasons of dominance, the Broncos finally showed signs of cracking.

Two kicks went out on the full, two balls were stripped by Jess Series and winger Emily Bass dropped a simple kick midway through the second half.

There was also a mix of controversy, with Keeley Joseph getting the Roosters level when she was ruled to have got the ball over the line after first putting it down short.

But ultimately the pressure told, with a brilliant Zahara Temara kick earning a line dropout before a Jocelyn Kelleher try sealed the Roosters’ winning lead.

It means next Sunday’s final in Redcliffe, Queensland will be played between two NSW-based teams.

The Dragons should enter as favourites, with their 24-18 win over the Titans not properly detailing their dominance.

After they trailed 6-0 early, Keeley Davis starred at hooker as she took on more responsibility with halfback Rachael Pearson battling injury.

The 21-year-old grubber-kicked at the line for one Emma Tonegato try and chased through on another for her own maiden four-pointer.

It gave the Red V a 24-6 lead, before two late Titans tries offered the faintest sniff of hope in the final 20 seconds.

But ultimately the Dragons held firm, ensuring a spot in their second NRLW final, which they will now enter as the top-ranked team.

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