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Inspired Eels ready for Roosters challenge

After defying all odds to reach the NRLW Semi Finals, the Eels are riding a wave of emotion and energy into this week’s sudden-death showdown with the Roosters.

Parramatta pulled off a great escape to secure their first Semi Finals appearance following a challenging season. It took an unlikely win over highly fancied, three-time premiers Brisbane over the weekend and favourable results elsewhere to propel Parramatta into a fourth-place finish.

The Eels have been plagued by agonising losses and injuries throughout the season but have now earned the right to take on the minor premiers and reigning champions in the Roosters for a place in the Grand Final.

Proud co-captain Simaima Taufa applauded her team’s efforts – particularly in their brave win against Brisbane – to reach this stage of the competition in the face of adversity.

“We worked really hard and that’s something that cannot be taken away from this group,” she said.

“We’re not full-time athletes, we work for what we have, and to see all the girls come in week in, week out on the back of losses and still have the energy to keep fighting… to come out with that win – and a convincing one as well – was incredible to be a part of.

“To do it after the many setbacks that we did have as a group, it makes getting into that scenario of playing the Roosters again that much sweeter.”

The Eels enter the Semi Finals as outsiders to an unbeaten Roosters side full of star power in the form of Isabelle Kelly, Jess Sergis and Sam Bremner.

But having had their backs to the wall all season, the Eels are unphased by the underdog tag. 

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Just last season, it was the Roosters who scraped into the play-offs in the last round of the season before going on to win the entire Premiership.

Now, Parramatta are determined to follow suit.

“We know we’re obviously the underdogs,” Taufa said.

“But a team that’s youthful is always a dangerous team. We know the Roosters are the benchmark, but we know what we’re capable of and what we’re able to display.

“If you look at last week, I don’t think many backed us to win; so against all odds we will stand up.”

Parramatta’s previous meeting with the Roosters this season came in Round 1, where they fell to a 38-16 defeat.

But the side’s improvement since then has been evident in narrow losses to fellow finalists, the Dragons and Knights, and then the victory over Brisbane.

Boom forward Kennedy Cherrington echoed Taufa’s excitement and optimism for the Semi Final, buoyed by Parramatta’s progression over the course of the season.

“I can’t wait to play,” said Cherrington.

“It’s going to be an exciting one especially coming up against the Roosters. We played them in Round 1 and went down, but I think we’ve been the most improved team in this competition.

“I think we can match them in the middle. They’ve got some pretty deadly played on the edges too but if we play how we did on the weekend and fine tune a few things I think we can get the job done.”

The Eels’ Semi Final with the Roosters is played at 3:50pm this Sunday at Suncorp Stadium.

Acknowledgement of Country

Parramatta Eels respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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