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Mate vs mate in epic No.1 battle

Central Coast Roosters captain Isabelle Kelly is hoping her side can maintain their undefeated streak when she squares off against her Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin team mate and Wests Tigers skipper Botille Vette-Welsh at Morry Breen Oval on Saturday.

In what is shaping up to be an absorbing battle of the No.1s, Kelly has taken up the position of fullback in place of her usual spot at centre this season while Vette-Welsh has a great strike record from the back.

The Roosters continue to have plenty of speed and firepower up the middle through Harvey Norman NSW Origin players Hannah Southwell and Kylie Hilder, while Wests will be fresh off a bye and have named sisters and Under-18s Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin representatives Sophie and Emily.

“We’ve got a great mix of some experience and youth, we’ve got some younger girls from the Tarsha Gale that have come through this year, so I think that mix of having both has been part of our success for sure,” Hilder said.

“The coach has done a lot of work making sure that every girl understands their role and position on the field, I think that’s been the massive thing, so everyone’s just worried about what they need to do when they come on the field.

“It’s a great bunch of girls, everyone gets along, we’re a pretty close bunch but everyone is just enjoying playing their footy and obviously when you’re enjoying it the results will come on the board as well.”

Hilder announced her retirement at the end last season, having won the Women’s State of Origin shield with the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin team and the Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership with CRL Newcastle, and was set to coach the Central Coast side before changing her mind and electing to play again.

“COVID happened so I had nothing else to do but keep myself fit and I went back to training with the girls and John Strange became available to coach because Junior Reps was cancelled and he was doing a great job for us, so I started training, was fitting in, felt great and I thought ‘Why not?’” she said.

North Sydney will face the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, the Bears headed by Origin heavyweights Kirra Dibb and Shontelle Stowers and 2018 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin representative Talesha Quinn will look to make an impact off the bench.

The Bulldogs defeated Wentworthville 14-4 in Round Two after a heavy loss to the Roosters in Round One so their captain Samantha Economos will be hoping to notch consecutive wins but it won’t be an easy task at North Sydney Oval.

South Sydney Rabbitohs and Wentworthville will battle it out at Erskineville Oval on Saturday at 12:00pm and are both looking for redemption after suffering losses to the Roosters and the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs respectively in Round Two, while the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have a bye.

For the latest information on the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership draw and results please click here.