Roosters vs Warriors
Starting: Kiana Takairangi, Nita Maynard.
Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.
Starting: All the wahine, except for Fijian international Timaima Ravisa.
Bench/Extended Bench: All except for Roela Radiniyavuni.
Nothing too crazy for the Roosters with Nita Maynard starting at hooker as expected and Kiana Takairangi showcasing her versatility as an outside back. Takairangi started at centre for the Kiwi Ferns earlier this year and slides out to the wing for the Roosters.
The Warriors will unleashed a fresh halves combination with Charntay Poko continuing her dramatic rise in rugby league, partnered by Fijian Timaima Ravisa. These two should offer a fair amount of creativity to the Warriors attack and as this is our first time seeing these two together, how they go about managing the game and dictating tempo will be intriguing. I'm also interested in the balance of the forward pack, now that Georgia Hale is palying through the middle along with Annetta Nu'uausala and Aieshaleigh Smalley.
Nu'uausala and Smalley are certified big boppers, while Hale was in the halves last season and has made a shift to the middle in 2019. Hale will provide some ball-playing, although her greatest attribute will be her mobility and work rate, plugging holes through the middle; don't expect big running metres from Hale.
Kathleen Wharton impressed for Aotearoa vs Fetu Samoa on an edge and along with Crystal Tamarua, they will be focal points of the Warriors attack on the edges. Even more so as the Warriors are missing Honey Hireme, so having a splash of ball-playing and hole-running will be required.
Dragons vs Broncos
Starting: Botille Vette-Welsh, Kimiora Nati, Teuila Fotu-Moala, Maitua Feterika.
Bench/Extended Bench: Ngatokotoru Arakua/Lexi Kiriwi.
Starting: Raecene McGregor, Lavinia Gould, Amber Paris-Hall, Rona Peters.
Bench/Extended Bench: Nada.
My attention was immediately grabbed by Teuila Fotu-Moala and Maitua Feterika starting in the middle for the Dragons, after they primarily operated as edge forwards for Brisbane Broncos last season. Feterika has even spent plenty of time as a centre and I low key love that they will roll through the middle, with their mobility and power likely to be a major point of difference for the Dragons.
It's an experiment that may not work, however based on trends in the NRL, I suspect that having Fotu-Moala and Feterika in the middle is going to be a treat for the Dragons. Ngatokotoru Arakua was among the best forwards from last season (along with Fotu-Moala and Feterika) and having Arakua come off the bench will provide immense impact; the type of middle forward crew that puts the Dragons as favourites to win the competition.
Kimiora Nati starts in the halves, where she will line up against Raecene McGregor. These two have effectively replaced each other and my first duty will be to suss out what edge they are playing on and whether they'll come directly up against each other. Otherwise, they are both likely to play supporting, yet important roles alongside their respective halfbacks.
Also keep a close eye on Amber Paris-Hall, who is in her first season of NRLW and comes up against that impressive Dragons forward pack. Paris-Hall made her Kiwi Ferns debut back in 2013, then played her next Test vs Fetu Samoa this year and has clearly made an impact in getting back into the mix of rugby league, which saw her earn a gig with the Broncos.
Hit an ad to support the #KiwiNRLW content.
Support the Niche Cache directly on Patreon if that's your buzz.
Peace and love 27.