Time not on Roosters’ side
SYDNEY Roosters are starting to realise that the short preparation for NRL Women's has probably hurt them.
Two rounds in and the early competition favourites are without a win.
Clubs were allowed to start pre-season training from August 1, but the Roosters didn't truly come together until about two weeks after that.
They had a number of players in NSW and Queensland state league finals, which didn't conclude until August 11 and they have had a few players flying in from Queensland each week for the sessions later in the week.
They are factors out of their control, but forward Vanessa Foliaki, one of the club's Queensland-based players, felt those factors have shown in their first two performances.
"It was tough. I think for us coming together three weeks before the competition has taken some time for us to gel," Foliaki said.
"It's been a really tough competition. I think we needed a bit more time before to get together and get that connection between each other.
"But other than that, it's been a good competition."
It's must win for the Roosters on Saturday whether they're in the hunt for a finals spot or not.
Must win should Brisbane open the door for Dragons or Roosters to qualify or if not simply to finish the inaugural season with a win.
Coach Adam Hartigan has made some changes to his side, most notably the shift of Zahara Temara from lock to halfback with experienced half Maddie Studdon moving to the bench.
Brydie Parker gets her shot on the wing for the injured Sharon McGrady, who played on last week after dislocating her shoulder, while Ruan Sims and Simaima Taufa will also start despite carrying injuries.
It's been a hard-fought couple of rounds in the competition.
The Roosters' match against the Broncos last week highlighted how serious all involved are taking the NRLW with Brisbane players leading calls on-field to target the injured knee of captain Taufa.
It took a rivalry reserved for Origin into clubland and this weekend it's turns teammate against teammate with many Blues players among the Dragons and Roosters sides.
"We love it. We love playing against our teammates. It's nothing new for us," Foliaki said.
"Most of us here play for NSW and the Broncos girls play for Queensland so to play against them is nothing new.
"It's even more exciting to play against people you know ... We always knew coming in it was going to be serious and under the banner of clubland, it was always going to be."
NRLW has also given Foliaki another chance to play alongside partner Karina Brown at an elite level.
The two have had both experiences - teammates in the state leagues and Jillaroos, opposition come Origin time.
The lock forward is enjoying riding the same post-match emotions as her partner once again.
"I've had it over Karina the last few years because I've won Origin, but it's nice to be able to feel the loss together," she said.
"Hopefully next week we get the win together."