The Newcastle Knights are just one win away from claiming back-to-back NRLW titles after qualifying for a consecutive grand final with a 30-24 victory over Brisbane Broncos on Sunday.
Newcastle will take on Gold Coast Titans at Accor Stadium in the decider after both sides progressed through the semi-finals.
In front of a record crowd for a standalone NRLW match of 12,689, the Knights accounted for 2018-20 champions Brisbane at McDonald Jones Stadium.
The Titans beat the Roosters 12-0 in Sydney shortly afterwards.
Knights coach Ronald Griffiths said prior to the Titans' victory that it didn't matter who his side faced next Sunday.
"Doesn't bother me," Griffiths said.
"For 18 months we've spoken about an internal focus and we'll never waiver from that whilst I'm coaching.
"That's the key for us.
"Just get us right."
It will be the second grand final Newcastle have played in after last season's inspirational worst-to-first campaign, which concluded with a 32-12 victory over Parramatta in the decider.
Eight players from the premiership-winning side that day are expected to line up for Newcastle again this week, but Griffiths said the greatest advantage of having been there last year would come ahead of the game.
"Enjoy the week," he said of what the side would take from the 2022 grand final.
"We did that really well and I think that's really important. It was a first for the club last year and it's a first for the club this year.
"They're a team that has created history on numerous occasions over the last 18 months. So they need to acknowledge that and enjoy the week, and prepare the best they can for next Sunday."
Playing a semi-final at home for the first time, the Knights produced a spirited display to claim an eighth-consecutive victory.
The 2023 minor premiers and last year's title winners scored three tries in the opening 18 minutes to lead Brisbane 18-4 at half-time.
The Broncos scored two tries either side of the break to reduce Newcastle's lead to 18-10, and twice got within six points in the second half, but the Knights held solid in defence and never let the visitors get on a roll.
"There's so many superlatives you could talk about the things they do week in, week out, but at the end of the day the defensive grit to just keep turning up for each other, and it wasn't pretty at times, but geez we seen some magnificent grit," Griffiths said.
Fullback Tamika Upton scored a try and had a hand in three others, but it was an all-round effort from the Knights, who Broncos coach Scott Prince described as the "form team" of 2023.
"They completed the first 12, 13 sets, we were just screaming in the box 'give us something'," he said.
"They had a great start."
Knights hooker Olivia Higgins struck the first blow after just six minutes, burrowing over the try-line out of dummy-half.
Skipper Hannah Southwell crossed for the home side's second and her first career try five minutes later, taking a pass from Upton to complete a series of breaks which took Newcastle from one end of the field to the other.
Upton was involved again when Caitlan Johnston chased down her grubber to score behind the goal-posts in the 18th minute.
The Broncos hit back six minutes before half-time through Shenae Ciesiolka, the centre scoring off a scrum 15 metres out from the try-line.
Trailing 18-4, the Broncos needed to score first after the break and they came out firing.
After peppering the Knights' defence over a couple of sets, they finally broke through via interchange forward Chelsea Lenarduzzi, who scored to the right of the goal-posts to help reduce Newcastle's lead to 18-10.
But the home side moved further ahead four minutes later when Upton crashed over on the left edge, the fullback somehow busting through multiple defenders.
Broncos back-rower Tazmin Gray bowled over Jesse Southwell and scored in the 59th minute to put the Broncos within 10 points at 24-14.
The visitors then came within six when Lauren Dam scored on the right flank in her first touch of the game.
Tiana Davison barged over five minutes before full-time to give Newcastle some breathing room and when Southwell converted to take a 30-18 lead, a victory appeared all but complete.
Dam scored again out wide with three minutes remaining but it was too little, too late from the Broncos.
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