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NRLW grand final: Newcastle or Parramatta to make history

Steeden rugby league ball sitting on the grass

Over the weekend the Newcastle Knights and the Parramatta Eels both booked their respective spots in the 2022 NRLW grand final.

However just a year ago, both these teams played in their inaugural NRLW seasons, both finishing outside the top four.

In the fifth instalment of the NRLW, history will be made with both the Knights and the Eels competing for the chance to win their first premiership in the competition’s history.

The teams will meet for just the second time this season when they run out on to Stadium Australia on the NRL’s grand final day.

Both the Knights and Eels only joined the competition last year, when the NRLW was increased from four teams to six.

In their first season, the Knights failed to record a victory in their five games and finished with the wooden spoon, while the Eels narrowly missed out on finals due to points difference.

On this season’s form, it’s difficult to separate the sides. In round three, the Knights narrowly edged out the Eels 18-16.

The Knights, who finished second on the ladder during the regular season, comfortably defeated the St George-Illawarra Dragons 30-6 to earn their place in the season decider.

The fourth-placed Eels booked their grand final berth by defeating the Sydney Roosters 24-10 in the second semi-final.

The Eels were impressive, managing to see off the reigning premiers the Roosters despite only recording one win all season prior to the finals.

This was a massive feat as the Roosters are not only the reigning premiers, but came first on the ladder this season, winning all five of their games, with eight more points than the Eels.

The Knights turnaround is just as inspiring. After winning no games last year, they won four of their five round games in 2022, only losing to the Roosters by two points in round four.

The Knights have managed to put themselves in the hunt for the premiership with a handful of superstar signings.

The early years of the NRLW was dominated by the Brisbane Broncos, who won the first three premierships, but the Roosters beat the Dragons in the 2021 grand final to set the tone for the closest season ever.

What makes the NRLW interesting is that the small size of the competition means it is actually more likely for teams to make the semi-finals rather than miss out, as four of the six teams are guaranteed a place.

The regular season is only five rounds, meaning each team only faces each other once.

The 2022 NRLW season will be the last six-team season before the competition expands in 2023.

Next year the competition will welcome the Canberra Raiders, Cronulla Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys, and the Wests Tigers.