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Defend the Kingdom: NRLW Round 2 preview

The nib Newcastle Knights NRLW side will continue their campaign when they come up against competition newcomers, the North Queensland Cowboys this Sunday.

The side kicked off their season with a strong win over the Dragons at McDonald Jones Stadium last round and will look to make it two from two to start the competition.

They will face the Cowboys for the first time with Belmore Sports Ground set to play host for the historic fixture.


Date: Sunday, July 30th

Kick-off: 12:00pm

Venue: Belmore Sports Ground, Sydney

The match will be shown live on Nine, Nine Now, Fox League and Kayo.

Roache on new beginnings and Knights debut


This match will be the first time the two Clubs have played against each other.


Team Lists


  • Fullback for Knights is number 1 Tamika Upton
    Fullback for Cowboys is number 1 Francesca Goldthorp
  • Winger for Knights is number 2 Sheridan Gallagher
    Winger for Cowboys is number 2 China Polata
  • Centre for Knights is number 3 Shanice Parker
    Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Jasmine Peters
  • Centre for Knights is number 4 Abigail Roache
    Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Shellie Long
  • Winger for Knights is number 5 Jasmin Strange
    Winger for Cowboys is number 19 Vitalina Naikore
  • Five-Eighth for Knights is number 6 Caitlin Moran
    Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Krystal Blackwell
  • Halfback for Knights is number 7 Jesse Southwell
    Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Kirra Dibb


  • Prop for Knights is number 10 Rima Butler
    Prop for Cowboys is number 13 Makenzie Weale
  • Hooker for Knights is number 9 Olivia Higgins
    Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Emma Manzelmann
  • Prop for Knights is number 16 Simone Karpani
    Prop for Cowboys is number 16 Jetaya Faifua
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 11 Caitlan Johnston
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shaniah Power
  • 2nd Row for Knights is number 12 Yasmin Clydsdale
    2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Bree Chester
  • Lock for Knights is number 13 Kayla Romaniuk
    Lock for Cowboys is number 10 Tiana Raftstrand-Smith


  • Interchange for Knights is number 8 Tayla Predebon
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 8 Tallisha Harden
  • Interchange for Knights is number 14 Nita Maynard
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Sera Koroi
  • Interchange for Knights is number 15 Tiana Davison
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Sareka Mooka
  • Interchange for Knights is number 17 Viena Tinao
    Interchange for Cowboys is number 21 April Ngatupuna


  • Replacement for Knights is number 21 Felila Kia
    Replacement for Cowboys is number 22 Jessikah Reeves

Match Officials

  • Referee: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Liam Kennedy

Last updated:


TUESDAY: Knights NRLW Head Coach Ronald Griffiths named his 22-woman squad for our Round 2 clash against the North Queensland Cowboys.

Laishon Albert-Jones has withdrawn from the squad due to concussion with Kayla Romaniuk coming into the run-on side. Tiana Division joins the interchange bench.

Meanwhile, Hannah Southwell has been named on the extended bench alongside English recruit Georgia Roche.


Women in League Round is always a special event on the rugby league calendar as the game comes together to celebrate and recognise the significant role women play in our game.

From the Mums driving their kids to training, to the volunteers at junior rugby league, to those working in the game and to the players, the game unites to pay tribute to all the incredible women in rugby league. 

This year, for the first time ever Women in League Round will occur during both the NRL and NRLW seasons.

Ahead of the round, the NRL invited Clubs to provide their Role Models to coincide with the round and to be recognised during the broadcasts of their respective games.

The NRLW Role Model for 2023 is NRLW Physiotherapist, Rebecca Swan.


The Knights opened their account for the 2023 campaign with a 32-16 victory over the St George Illawarra Dragons last round.

Dating back to last season, the red and blue have won four games in a row.

The Cowboys went down 16-6 to the Gold Coast Titans in their opening round match.

Clydsdale on opening win and building momentum


Tamika Upton v Francesca Goldthorp: The battle of the fullbacks will light up Belmore Sports Ground on Sunday.

Tamika hit the ground running against the Dragons last start with a try-assist and 239 run metres.

Upton will look to continue her combination with Jesse Southwell and Caitlin Moran in attack.

English international Goldthorp will provide a threat for the opposition with five tackle breaks last start against the Titans.


Newcastle and North Queensland each have 17 players under the age of 23 in their squads, which is the most in the NRLW.

The upcoming match against the Cowboys will be the first fixture between the two Clubs with North Queensland entering the competition this season.

Jesse Southwell had the most attacking kicks last round with 9.