Newcastle NRLW recruits secure grand final berth with upset win over the Dragons – marking an astonishing 12-month turnaround from wooden spooners to potential champions
- Newcastle are into their first NRLW grand final after finishing wooden spooners last year
- Recruits Millie Boyle and Tamika Upton both scored in the dominant win
- Boyle has followed up her 2021 Dally M season, captaining the Knights to a final
Newcastle star recruits Millie Boyle and Tamika Upton have resurged the Knights to NRLW success – leading the former wooden spooners to a maiden grand final with a dominant win over the Dragons.
Fullback Tamika Upton scored twice while skipper Millie Boyle produced a spectacular solo try in the 30-6 defeat to be the first side into the NRLW premiership game.
Tamika Upton put on some stunning footwork to score under the posts during the Knights win over the Dragons
The former Brisbane pair starred on their old turf at Suncorp Stadium in the first of Sunday’s double header, as the three-time champions Brisbane were absent from the semis in a competition shake-up.
Newcastle, who were 0-5 last season, will play the winner of the Sydney Roosters and Parramatta in next Sunday’s decider.
Millie Boyle showed strength in a cracking solo effort to score her first try of the 2022 NRLW season
The Dragons, who had lost 30-8 to the Knights a week ago, had powered back into the contest when star fullback Emma Tonegato crossed in the right corner.
But a knock-on was spotted on review and a 12-10 scoreline was suddenly 18-6 at halftime, when Knight’s five-eighth Kirra Dibb scooted over from dummy-half.
The Dragons dominated territory in the second half, but the Knights’ defence held firm.
Boyle takes the ball up during the Knights semi-final win over the Dragons
Upton breezed through for a second try to seal the result before Kiana Takairangi’s try was the icing on the cake.
Dragons winger Teagan Berry kept her side close early on, plucking an intercept from Upton’s kick return to score against the run of play.
Tonegato’s no-try followed, her side unable to score another point as the Knights made an early grand final statement in Brisbane.
Boyle starred in the 2021 NRLW season, awarded the Dally M gong where she averaged 198 running metres per game.
Boyle won the 2021 Dally M medal – where she tied with Dragons fullback Emma Tonegato
The 24-year-old brushed off Dragons gun Keeley Davis in her stunning try, where she showed footwork and strength to score.
In 2021, the Knights lost all of their regular season games, slumping to a 40-4 defeat against the Dragons in round four.