NSW Women’s Origin players including Simaima Taufa, Kirra Dibb and Botille Vette-Welsh, along with a host of Under-18 Origin stars, will fight it out for a spot in the semi-finals when the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership finals series gets underway tomorrow (Saturday 5 September).
The elimination semi-finals will see third (North Sydney Bears), fourth (Wests Tigers), fifth (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs) and sixth (South Sydney Rabbitohs) place on the regular ladder battle to save their season and attempt to be crowned premiers.
The North Sydney Bears, headlined by Origin half Dibb, centre Shontelle Stowers and workhorse Taufa will take on the Rabbitohs at 11am at Campbelltown Stadium.
Last time these two sides met in Round 6, the Bears won convincingly 32-0 and on Saturday they will be looking to bounce back from a 16-6 loss in Round 7 to minor premiers the Central Coast Roosters.
However, Souths will be heading into the match with confidence after defeating Wests 12-4 in Round 7 and will look to players like talented sisters Janaya and Shaylee Bent as well as Ellie Johnston to add some fire power against North Sydney.
The other elimination semi-final on Saturday will see the Tigers play the Bulldogs at Campbelltown Stadium at 3pm, with Origin representative and Tigers captain Vette-Welsh looking to make an impact at fullback against a strong Canterbury outfit that boasts the likes of Jillaroo Rikeya Horne and crafty half Quincy Dodd.
In their last encounter in Round 4, the Tigers recorded a 32-20 victory and, with Wests and Canterbury both coming off losses to the Rabbitohs and Cronulla in Round 7 respectively, they both know the importance of a getting a win this weekend to keep their season going.
The winner of each game will proceed to an elimination match the following week, with the winner of that game then proceeding to the Grand Final qualifier on Saturday 19 September.
Minor premiers Central Coast will enjoy a well-earned weekend off to prepare for their match-up against the Cronulla Sutherland Sharks in the qualification final on Saturday 12 September.
Both teams boast a big-name roster with NSW and Australian representatives Isabelle Kelly (Roosters) and Corban McGregor (Sharks) captaining respective jerseys and Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin stars Hannah Southwell, Kylie Hilder and Maddie Studdon are set to feature.
The winner will proceed straight to the Grand Final and the defeated side will face the winner of the elimination match in a Grand Final qualifier on Saturday 19 September.
“It has been fantastic to see the players give their all every week and the level of competition has certainly been impressive,” NSWRL General Manager - Football, Barrie-Jon Mather said.
“Considering the unknown certainties at the beginning of the year, all clubs have demonstrated resilience and determination in the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership this season.
“This calls for an entertaining and exciting finals series ahead.”
To keep up to date with the latest draw and results from the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership please click here.