The streak of victories continues for Canberra in the NRLW, following their dazzling 28-22 win over the Wests Tigers. In a thrilling encounter that ended in the first defeat for the Tigers, Canberra demonstrated their dominance once more.
Prior to this, Newcastle scored a resounding victory over the still winless Parramatta, winning with a solid 38-4. Parramatta’s captain, Kennedy Cherrington, was banished from the field mid-match during this Grand Final replay.
Breaking early, the Canberra home team gained a rapid lead with Ashleigh Quinlan and Hollie-Mae Dodd scoring in the first eight minutes of the match. The Tigers did not shy away, though, as they bounced back impressively with scores from Leianne Tufuga and Kezie Apps, resulting in teams being all square, 12-12 at the break.
Towards the end of the initial half, the Tigers were dealt a blow as they lost their star fullback and captain, Bo Vette-Welsh, due to a head injury. Canberra then took control in the second half, setting up the win with three tries made within a concise nine minutes. Apps was ejected from the game in the 56th minute as punishment for a professional fouls she committed in a spirited bid to stop Shakiah Tungai from making an intercept try.
As Apps sat out, Canberra capitalised, scoring via Cheyelle Robins-Reti and increasing the lead to 28-12. Despite crossing the line twice more, Tufuga’s efforts were not enough to help the Tigers level with Canberra.
Kennedy Cherrington became the second player in NRLW history to be given marching orders. This followed an incident in the match against Newcastle, where Cherrington, alongside Madeline Jones, turned over Knights‘ forward Laishon Albert-Jones in a jarring spear tackle.
Later, Cherrington’s send off served as an invitation for Newcastle to solidify their dominance and broaden the score margin with 25 minutes left on the clock in the 2022 Grand Final rematch at Western Sydney Stadium. Parramatta’s lack of pace due to reduced player count only made matters worse for them.
Newcastle’s Tayla Predebon powerfully navigated through the middle – an area previously defended by Cherrington. This penetration helped Newcastle score three tries. Meanwhile, teammate Caitlan Johnston joined Cherrington on the bench after receiving punishment for a high shot on debutant Kelsey Clark.
Referee Belinda Sharpe‘s order to eject Brisbane winger Ashleigh Werner last weekend, over an alleged biting incident involving Jayme Fressard, preceeded Cherrington’s removal. Werner received a ban for two matches, and should Cherrington receive a similar verdict, the Eels may face the coming games without their captain.
This prospect adds more strain for last year’s runners-up who have come into this season with difficulties and disbelief. Despite three rounds so far, they remain the only winless side. By contrast, the Knights‘ triumph stabilises their position in the top four.
Newcastle demonstrated precision from the start of the game with State of Origin representative, Yasmin Clydsdale, spearheading the offence. Clydsdale launched the team’s initial score, and subsequently, aided by Georgia Roche and Tamika Upton, led the Knights to a commanding second try.
The Knights did not reclaim their initial superiority until after Cherrington had been excused from the game. In a positive note, Knights captain Hannah Southwell returned to the field from a former anterior cruciate ligament injury and concluded the match with 19 tackles. /League Initiative