Charlotte Caslick made a scintillating start to her NRLW career on Saturday after her high-profile code switch from rugby sevens.
Caslick helped the Sydney Roosters to a convincing 18-4 upset over St George Illawarra in the NRLW season opener, her first game of rugby league.
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The rugby sevens convert showed a number of magical touches in her first game in her adopted code, including a critical second-half offload that sealed their victory in Canberra.
Caslick finished with a game-high 154m from 12 runs, adding five tackle breaks.
But new coach Jamie Feeney had plenty of other contributors across GIO Stadium, with Jillaroos lock Hannah Southwell proving a defensive force and halfback Zehara Tamara adding a couple of line-break assists.
The impressive victory comes after the Roosters endured a winless campaign last year.
Despite boasting a star-studded backline, the Dragons struggled to penetrate the Roosters defence and were held scoreless in the second half.
They also lost star second-rower Kezie Apps to concussion early in the second half, while key players Shakiah Tungai and Jessica Sergies were also hampered by injury.
Fans in a frenzy over Charlotte Caslick debut
It didn’t take long for Caslick to inject herself into the contest on Saturday, showcasing her speed and footwork with a number of early electric runs.
However the 2016 Rio gold medallist also copped her fair share of rough treatment, including a heavy whack from Dragons front-rower Filomina Hanisi on a play-one carry.
The first try of the women’s third season came from pint-sized Roosters dummy-half Nita Maynard, who darted over from close range, only for the Dragons to respond through Tiana Penitani.
A Quincy Dodd try, also from close range, gave the Roosters an eight-point lead at the break.
St George Illawarra had a number of looks at the tryline after the restart but couldn't get the breakthrough they needed, with skipper Corban McGregor completing the win with the only four-pointer of the period late.
“Obviously the start was really intense and pretty fast, but I felt I got some space in the back end of the first half,” Caslick told Fox Sports.
“They're definitely completely different sports, just the patience and going through the systems in rugby league is different to sevens, where we take our opportunity every time we get it.
“We knew they had superstars all over their backline and our job was to stop them.”
Fans flocked to social media to praise Caslick’s barnstorming debut.
I love Charlotte Caslick... so I was watching closely as to how she’d go today(that doesn’t sound creepy at all 😬🙄😂) and a few times she made a tackle and got back “behind last feet”. Then thought “ oops... wrong game”. Geez she’s good though !!— The PMP (@theportmacpearl) October 3, 2020
Elite— Dan Helson (@HelFisher23) October 4, 2020
She's awesome. Great pick up for the NRLW.— Jack Yoshi (@jetjackpack) October 4, 2020
Charlotte Caslick— Rewster (@Rewster7) October 5, 2020
Charlotte Caslick first half:— Nathan Williamson (@NathW1997) October 3, 2020
7 runs for 109m
30 post-contact metres
5 tackle busts
All off just 9 touches/receipts of the ball
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