After an incredible five weeks of rugby league competition in the NRLW, it all comes to a head at this Sunday’s Grand Final with the St George Illawarra Dragons taking on the Sydney Roosters for the NRL Telstra Women’s Premiership.
There are several Kiwi players taking the field at Redcliff’s Moreton Dailey stadium' on Sunday for the Roosters but only one for the Dragons, Kiwi Fern and Dragons winger Madison Bartlett (Ngāti Porou).
She says that the experience of this year’s season has been awesome but scary, as she was previously with the New Zealand Warriors Women side, a team that has not been included in this season.
“I didn’t know anyone but the girls made it such a smooth transition. The coaches and the Dragons in general have just been great. Not just for me on a personal level, but also for my game, I think it’s been great.”
Even with her first grand final fast approaching, and having scored five tries herself this season, the preparation is no different from how Bartlett has done it for every game with the Dragons this year.
“I’m trying not to get ahead of myself or get too nervous. We’ve just been doing our normal routines, having our dinners together. I’m lucky I live in a house with six other players. We’ve been just focussing on us and doing what we’ve been doing every other week.”
The Dragons winger is confident about her teammates, not just because of their impressive 4-1 record this season but also because of how she has seen them train and prepare for every match, pre-season and now.
“I just know the ability of the women we have, I trust our systems and our defence. I’m just really confident in what I know that we can produce on Sunday.
Of her own game, Bartlett says, “As a player, I’ve been able to develop and I’ve been very lucky to be surrounded by great coaches, as well as being surrounded by a whole lot of Australian girls, so it’s been different to see how they do things. I’ve learned a lot since being over here.”
As for a possible continuation in the red & white jersey, Bartlett hasn’t made any decisions yet and is focused solely on this Sunday “but I have really enjoyed it here”.
The Roosters and Dragons' head-to-head tally is tied up at two victories each in their past four encounters, the last being on March 26 where the St George Illawarra side bested the Sydney club, 16-10, a game that saw Bartlett score a four-pointer too.
Can Bartlett and her fellow Dragons squad best the Roosters this Sunday and win their first premiership? Find out when the NRLW Premiership Grand Final kicks off at 3:30pm on Sky Sport.