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Eels advance to NRLW Grand Final

The Eels Women’s side will join the Men at this week’s Grand Final, after qualifying for the 2022 NRLW decider with a stunning 24-10 Semi Final win over the Roosters.

Coming up against the unbeaten minor premiers and reigning champions after narrowly qualifying for the playoffs, very few gave the Eels a chance of progressing to next week’s Grand Final. Yet they did just that.

The odds-defying Eels produced a stunning performance, blowing the premiership favourites off the park to book their place in next week’s NRLW Grand Final against the Newcastle Knights.

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All eyes now turn to Grand Final week ahead of next Sunday at Accor Stadium, where the Eels will be playing for both the NRL and NRLW Premierships.

While of course an exciting time for the club and its fans, NRLW head coach Dean Widders says the job is not done yet.

“We won’t be happy just to be there,” said Widders.

“It’s a huge week and the fans will love this week, but what they’ll love even more is if we can both get the job done.

“It’s a big week for everyone, but that excitement is outside and what we do as a team is going to give us a chance and I believe we’ve got one more to go as a team.”

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The Eels got off to a spirited start in their Semi Final, taking no backward steps against the reigning premiers.

The Blue & Gold got due reward for their efforts, as Ash Quinlan opened the scoring. In a terrific solo effort, the five-eighth dummied, stepped off her left foot, and ducked under the goal-line defence to touch down.

The Roosters responded off a piece of good fortune but were denied a second as Zali Fay and Abbi Church combined in a fantastic, last-ditch defensive effort.

Moments later, Church – playing in the place of injured co-captain Tiana Penitani – produced another big play as she sliced through the Roosters right edge with a big sidestep to score a well-deserved try.

The Roosters continued to come swinging on either side of halftime, but the Eels’ defensive resolve repeatedly proved unbreakable. This was highlighted by fullback Gayle Broughton’s terrific, try-saving tackle on Shawden Burton.

As has been the story of the Eels’ season, they spent much of the afternoon with their backs to the wall.

But with one of their first attacking opportunities of the second half, Parramatta took a giant stride towards knocking off the premiers as Tayla Preston pounced on a deft kick by Brooke Anderson, extending the lead to 18-4.

The Eels then sealed the deal with five minutes to spare, as Rikeya Horne plucked out a bouncing bomb and dashed away untouched to secure a ticket to the big dance.

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The Roosters pulled one back late on, but it was too little, too late as Parramatta celebrated reaching the decider in just their second NRLW season.

The NRLW Grand Final will be played next Sunday, October 2 at 3:55pm prior to the NRL Grand Final at Accor 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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