Simone Smith has moved into the starting halves role for the Roosters in the second week over Newcastle teammate Mel Howard. Image via NRL Media.

Simone Smith in, Melanie Howard out. That’s the call Rick Stone has made after Sydney’s first-round loss to 16-12 loss to the Warriors at AAMI Park on Saturday.

Howard wasn’t the worst on-field by any means as the 2018 runners-up dropped by just four points to the girls across the Tasman, but with Jillaroos superstar Smith waiting in the wings it seems one of the more obvious changes Stone could make.

For the rest of the Newcastle and Hunter cohort in the NRL Womens, it’s business as usual as they head into their second game of the season.

Isabelle Kelly, Hannah Southwell, and Bec Young have all been named in the top seventeen for the Roosters, with Young on the bench. Bobbi Law has also again been included as the 18th player, and will have to bide her time to see if she earns a start.

It’s make or break time for the Roosters as they come face to face with their grand final rivals from NRLW-1 – the Brisbane Broncos. The two clubs meet in Melbourne ahead of the Storm vs Eels NRL blockbuster with everything to play for.

The Broncos ousted early title favourites the Dragons last weekend 14-4 at Bankwest Stadium ahead of Parramatta’s 58-0 shellacking of the northern club’s eighth-placed men’s team. Now they’re looking to make it 2-0 down south.

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Holli Wheeler, who was part of the Dragons outfit that suffered their first-week loss, is priming to return to the lock position for the team’s second attempt to put points on the competition board in 2019. This time, they face the Warriors.

The team faces New Zealand breakout star Charntay Poko on Sunday in one of the league’s standalone fixtures at Mt Smart Stadium. Poko ran rampant with her kicking game against the Roosters, and is gearing to do it again against St George.

If Wheeler wants to etch her second win in the NRLW, shutting down lethal rugby convert Poko will be the key to that matchup.

The Newcastle-heavy Roosters squad will play the Broncos at 5pm on Saturday afternoon. The Dragons will clash with the Warriors the following day, with kick-off set for 1.15pm. live Both games will be live on Foxtel, Kayo Sports and GEM.