With both sides wanting a win to kickstart their campaigns, it would be the St George Illawarra Dragons to come away with a comprehensive 38-12 win at home at WIN Stadium.
The first try did not take long as Tyla Nathan-Wong continued her solid form with a harbour bridge pass for debutant winger Margot Vella to score in the left corner.
The Eels hit back about ten minutes later when on the last tackle, they went down the short side and Cassey Tohi-Hiku just barged her way over to score.
Raecene McGregor would then begin to dictate terms as her pinpoint crossfield kick found another debutante winger in Cortez Te Pou to score her first NRLW try.
The Dragons grabbed a third before the break as Teagan Berry got the ball on the inside, cut across a defender and reached out to score; the bunker confirming what some deemed a controversial try.
A fourth try before the break then ensued for the Dragons as they went down the field and it was again McGregor and Te Pou that combined for the winger’s second try on debut.
The match was seemingly put to bed in the second half when Margot Vella also scored her second try of the game on debut out wide.
The Eels did show some ticker and resolve late on, however, and were rewarded, as Abbi Church split the Dragons defence before finding Mahalia Murphy out wide to score.
A mistake by Teagan Berry in the in-goal saw the Eels pounce, as Monique Donovan won the race to the ball to score.
Goal-kicking may have let the Eels down ultimately but in the end, it may not have mattered, as the Dragons were not done with points.
Roxy Murdoch than bustled her way over with several defenders as the Dragons looked to put the game to bed.
A 40/30 by McGregor once again had the Dragons attacking and it would be Berry to grab her second as she split a gap, spun in a tackle and grounded the ball.
The two halves then combined as McGregor kicked and Nathan-Wong scored to cap off a big Dragons win.
Dragons coach Jamie Soward praised McGregor in every sense, like she had the ball on a string the entire game.
“I haven’t seen another number seven [McGregor] in the NRLW kick a ball like that and score tries like that,” Soward said.
‘For me, as a [former] half watching that, the skills and practice of that for us to get that on the money and then for the wingers to be able to do it in front of a big crowd.”
Although he lamented the loss, Eels coach Dean Widders knows that patience, time and development are needed given the relative inexperience of the overall side.
“We’ve just got patient there and, at the same time, it’s given some young people in our team an opportunity to develop their game and grow and they’ll learn their lessons from,” Widders said.
St George Illawarra Dragons 38 (Vella 2, Te Pou 2, Berry 2, Murdoch, Nathan-Wong; Goals: Nathan Wong 3) def. Parramatta Eels 12 (Tohi-Hiku, Murphy, Donovan).
NRL News NRLW Player of the Game
3. Raecene McGregor (SGI)
2. Teagan Berry (SGI)
1. Tyla Nathan-Wong (SGI)