Round 25 Team Lists Late Mail: Cowboys make Nanai call, Hastings races clock, Dolphins hit for six, Roosters boosted by duo
All the NRL team list, injuries, judiciary and Late Mail information for Round 25.
Eels forward Kennedy Cherrington was referred straight to the judiciary for a dangerous throw on Newcastle’s Laishon Albert-Jones and is now out four weeks after copping the longest ban handed out in NRLW history.
This is one of the most challenging aspects of the NRLW – the balancing of an extremely short season versus punishment for foul play.
Her ban is comparable to a male player missing almost half an NRL season but potentially this comparison isn’t helpful given just how short the NRLW season is.
The reality is, this problem will continue to present itself until the NRLW season is longer. My view is the ban feels just right, given the severity of the tackle, but it’s a shame that it basically means Cherrington will sit out for the rest of the season.
It was also a shame to see some people posting photos of Cherrington leaving the field with a ‘smile’ on her face, questioning the quality of her character.
Anyone watching the game would have seen Cherrington’s immediate concern and that she apologised several times.
She has made a mistake and has paid a big price for it.
In the other round three matches, Brisbane got their first win of the season with a 40-12 win over the North Queensland Cowboys thanks to four Mele Hufunga tries and the Sydney Roosters responded to their Round 2 loss with a resounding 30-0 thumping of the St George Illawarra Dragons.
But it was the Canberra Raiders who surprised the most, defeating the then unbeaten Wests Tigers 28-22 in front of a home crowd at GIO Stadium.
Here’s your Round 4 preview.
The Raiders have been extremely impressive in the opening weeks of the competition with the new team coming together to secure back to back wins.
The Dragons on the other hand, have been up and down. After a big win against Parramatta, they were blown off the park by the Roosters last week and will be looking to bounce back strongly.
One area for improvement for the Raiders is their completion rate. With a completion rate under 80 per cent last weekend against the Dragons, they cannot afford to give the Dragons quality ball given the precision of Raecene McGregor’s kicking game.
This compares to the discipline of the Dragons who completed at 92 per cent last week against the Roosters. Raiders by 4
The Wests Tigers were disappointed after their first loss of the season to the Raiders with Botille Vette-Welsh suffering a head knock to rub injury into insult.
I’m extremely excited to see All Stars half Tahlulah Tillett named in the halves alongside Kirra Dibb for her first NRLW match of the season.
The Cowboys will need to work hard to win the forward battle. Kezie Apps has been one of the Tigers’ best and has proved a handful, particularly late in halves when defence starts to tire.
I’m also looking forward to seeing whether Leianne Tufuga can score another try after scoring five tries in three games on the left edge. Tigers by 8
It seems to be one step forward for the Eels and one step backwards. This week the team welcomes back two of its marquee signings for 2023 in Elsie Albert and Rachael Pearson.
In particular, Albert’s inclusion could not have come soon enough with Kennedy Cherrington sidelined for the next four games over her spear tackle ban. This week the Eels come up against one of the strongest packs in the comp including Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Tazmin Gray, so will need Albert to step up.
I expect the Eels to improve this week with the inclusion of Albert and Pearson, but their team is still the most inexperienced in the competition and coming up against a team that will no doubt want revenge on the team that knocked them out of finals contention last year.
In this game, the Broncos will no doubt target the Eels edge defence, with Hufunga proving how effective she can be one-on-one; a big test for both Zali Fay and Kimberley Hunt. Broncos by 6
The Sharks were beaten in the final two minutes in their Round 3 game against the Titans, but have two big inclusions for their game against the Roosters.
Jada Taylor returns to fullback and Holli Wheeler is also starting after returning from a knee injury.
Despite those big ins, it’s hard for me to tip against the Roosters given how dominant they were last week against the Dragons. Roosters by 6
It’s a top of the table clash with the first placed Titans taking on the second placed Knights in Newcastle.
The Gold Coast have been my most improved side in 2023 and in the last two weeks have done just enough in the closing minutes of the game to seal victory.
The Knights have also been impressive with a thumping of the Eels last weekend. There are some big match-ups, but none more exciting than the fullback battle between Tamika Upton and Evania Pelite.
Pelite is leading the competition for the most tackle breaks with 31 and has proven to be tough to stop. Goal kicking may also become key in this game and fortunately, these teams have two of the best. Jesse Southwell leads the competition with 11 goals, but Lauren Brown has gotten the job done under pressure, with a field goal to get the win against the Broncos and a sideline conversion to get the Titans the win last weekend. Newcastle by 2