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All roads lead to Homebush for the Blue and Gold Army after the Parramatta Eels orchestrated a stunning 22-10 upset over the previously undefeated Roosters at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday.

One of the biggest upsets in NRLW history was made even more remarkable given Parramatta were missing their star centre Tiana Penitani and the side, led by Dean Widders, only had their first win of the season in the last round. 

But it was halves pairing Taylah Preston and Ash Quinlan who rose to the occasion, booking themselves a maiden grand final that appeared unlikely after Parramatta began their season with six consecutive losses.

The halves not only laid the platform for the Eels' slick attacking performance, but each finished the match with crucial four-pointers.

The girls in blue and gold got off to a flying start with a piece of individual brilliance from rookie playmaker Quinlan who exploded off her left foot to step inside Roosters Olivia Kernick and Keilee Joseph and score in the 13th minute.

The reigning premiers hit back two minutes later when a lucky kick bounced over the heads of Eels defenders and Roosters second-rower Shaniah Power planted the ball down in the in-goal area to make it 6-4.

Power takes lucky bounce

Five minutes later and Dean Widders' side went further ahead when Abbi Church took several Dragons defenders across the line with her to make it 12-4.

After the break Eels fullback Gayle Broughton produced a huge play to deny Roosters forward Shawden Burton a try in the 41st minute.

Burton bustled over the line but Broughton wrestles with her and holds up the ball, before the referee deemed it a knock-on.

Come the 47th minute and it was rookie halfback Preston who threaded a fifth-tackle kick into the in-goal area from dummy-half, before beating the Roosters defenders to chase the ball down and score her first NRLW try.

Just two minutes later and Eels centre Rikeya Horne crossed the line for the Eels to book their place in the 2022 NRLW Grand Final.

Play of the Game 

It was Paramatta halfback Tayla Preston who put the game out of reach for the Roosters in the 47th minute of Sunday's Semi-Final. After threading the last tackle kick into the in-goal area from dummy-half, Preston beat the Roosters defenders to chase the ball down and score her first NRLW try. Preston converted her try to seal the deal for the blue and gold.

Preston somehow scores

Match Snapshot

  • The Paramatta Eels will rewrite the history books this Sunday at Accor Stadium, with their NRLW final win seeing both their men and women progressing to the 2022 Grand Final. 
  • The Roosters lost their first game of the 2022 season at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday 
  • Roosters Skipper Isabelle Kelly harvested ambition despite trailing for the 70-minute match, running 192 metres and four tackle breaks. 
  • Parramatta forward Kennedy Cherrington produced a dominant semi-final performance, running for 214 metres and chalking up 27 tackles for the blue and gold.
  • Veteran forward Simaima Taufa was at her barnstorming best, chalking up 36 tackles and 156 run metres for the winning side.
  • Taufa was placed on report in the 19th minute of the match for dangerous contact.

What they Said

"I think anything that could have gone wrong for us did out there. We were very poor. Parramatta played very well, they completed highly, it was a fairly basic game plan for them and it worked. They stuck to their kicks and completed well and we were just coming up with too many forced errors and putting ourselves under pressure. I’ve said all along that anyone can beat anyone in this comp and I know Parra just snuck into fourth but they’ve got a lot of good players and they showed today they were good enough to beat us." – Roosters coach John Strange.

“I’m really happy for all the girls. I know how hard they all work and I know how much they love their footy. I think we were willing to fight for each other and we were willing to take on anyone and in that first game we got taught a real lesson by them. We’ve been building week to week and we wanted another shot at them and we got it today. It’s huge and the fans will love it this week but I know what they’ll want even more is if we can get the job done. We won’t just be happy to be there after the trek we’ve had and I guarantee the men’s team isn’t just happy to be there with all the prep they’ve done and I guarantee as a club we’ll really focus on that.” - Eels coach Dean Widders.

NRLW Press Conference: Roosters v Eels - Semi-Final, 2022

What's Next

The Parramatta Eels have advanced to their first NRLW grand final where they will meet the Newcastle Knights at Accor Stadium next Sunday. The Roosters are eliminated after losing their only game of the year. 

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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