The Warriors edged the Roosters 10-4 in the WNRL opener. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
The Warriors edged the Roosters 10-4 in the WNRL opener. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

History made as Warriors claim NRLW opener

THE name Hilda Mariu will be in the history books forever as the first try-scorer in the NRL Women's Premiership, with the inaugural game taken out by the Warriors.

A team hailed as an unknown leading into the competition upset the early favourites with a gritty 10-4 win at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Mariu's try was a moment that will never be taken from her and it was one that put her team in control against the competition favourites.

The Warriors dominated the first half and went toe-to-toe in the second as the NRL's first women's game didn't disappoint the 7748 fans who turned up early to watch.

Warriors captain Laura Mariu said the players had to shake off early nerves and instead embrace the atmosphere.

"The nerves were definitely there probably in the last couple of days and then there was the excitement around the first NRL women's game," she said.

Isabelle Kelly scored the Roosters’ only try. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP
Isabelle Kelly scored the Roosters’ only try. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP

"Our messages were embrace the pressure because we knew it was going to be like that out there and I think our girls took hold of that out there.

"It was a tough match, they threw it all at us as well, that was not an easy game to play.

"We just knew if we held on to the ball and backed it with defence we'd have a good shot at coming away with the win and fortunately we did."

Not a point was scored in the second half as the Roosters probed, hoping to find gaps for their strike backline players as the clock wound down.

They couldn't find a way through the Warriors, who didn't relent even after an exhausting journey to Sydney during the 24 hours before kick-off.

The team's flight was diverted to Brisbane because of storms on the Friday night and they took a 5am flight back on game day. They showed no ill effects.

The Warriors played hard and through the middle and on the back of their early 4-0 lead they took all the momentum off the Roosters.

Big hits from Warriors prop forward Anetta Nuuauasala in the first half, first on winger Karina Brown and later on lock Zahara Temara signalled the visitors' intent.

Hilda Mariu scores the first ever try in the NRL Women's Premiership. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP
Hilda Mariu scores the first ever try in the NRL Women's Premiership. Picture: Craig Golding/AAP

Lock Louisa Gago extended the Warriors' lead in the 17th minute when she took a short ball from five-eighth Laura Mariu for her to slice through under the posts. It proved the match-winner.

Fundamental errors robbed the Roosters of crucial ball and gifted the Warriors field position, their completion rate as low as 38 per cent at one point. They finished the match with 13 errors to the Warriors eight.

Centre Isabelle Kelly, their sole try-scorer with a solo cross-field effort late in the first half was among their best.

The triumphant Warriors side after their victory. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images
The triumphant Warriors side after their victory. Picture: Brett Hemmings/Getty Images

Roosters coach Adam Hartigan said a lack of game preparation probably showed as his side found its stride through the second half.

"In terms of our performance, probably disappointing first half, turned over a lot of possession. We didn't do anything that we wanted to do," he said.

"We hadn't had a trial, I think that showed. Still some individual performances that were really good, but we weren't connected as a team.

"Full credit to the Warriors girls, they were great … but great first game for the competition."



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