Cormac Pearson previews this year’s Women’s State Of Origin as New South Wales try to retain the honours after winning last year.
HEAD TO HEAD
Big hits, great tries, professional finishes, heart and passion. The first Holden Women’s State of Origin last year was a huge success and promises to deliver again. With the likes of Chelsea Baker, Kezie Apps, Ali Brigginshaw and Isabelle Kelly playing, North Sydney Oval is set to be home to a classic. Last year’s match threw Women’s rugby league further into the mainstream and displayed the talent that lies within it. The rivalry behind State of Origin runs deep for these athletes, and you can be sure it will grow stronger with every hit and every try.
The inaugural clash last year was tight, compelling and had just under one million viewers on TV. NSW came away with a six point win (16-10) so Queensland will be craving revenge. NSW centre Isabelle Kelly scored two tries, her second being the game-winning try with five minutes to go. If you’re in Sydney, head out to the game. For everyone else, switch on for what will be another Origin classic.
This Friday night will provide battles across the park, whether it’s Isabelle Kelly against AFL convert Stephanie Mooka in the centres, or Kezie Apps and Tazmin Grey in the second row. But what will win the game is the battle of the halves: Queensland five eighth Ali Brigginshaw against New South Wales halfback Maddie Studdon. Both players have featured in the Australian Jillaroos team for years and have the big game experience needed in State of Origin. Studdon captained NSW in last year’s clash and combined well with fullback Sam Bremner, playing a role in every try. This year the Blues will be without Bremner, so Studdon will need to take the playmaker role front on, control the game and create some points.
On the other side of the border lies Ali Brigginshaw, maybe the game’s most dangerous player with the ball in hand. Brigginshaw was a crucial cog in the Broncos’ premiership-winning side and had a great performance in last year’s Origin. She is tough, has a great kicking game and a sharp dummy; with a bit of space and license to roam, Brigginshaw’s impact on this game could decide it. She has been given the captaincy for 2019, so whether that gives impacts her game is yet to be seen.
New South Wales
The Blues have a new-look team after a number of forced and unforced changes to their squad. Only eight players from last year’s clash are included.
Star fullback Sam Bremner is out due to pregnancy as well as Nakia Davis-Welsh; this gives opportunity to incumbent fullback Corban McGregor. Kezie Apps has been awarded the captaincy.
New South Wales Blues squad: 1. Corban McGregor 2. Jessica Sergis 3. Tiana Penitani 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Shakiah Tungai 6. Kirra Dibb 7. Maddie Studdon 8. Simaima Taufa 9. Kylie Hilder 10. Vanessa Foliaki 11. Shontelle Stowers 12. Kezie Apps 13. Hannah Southwell 14. Botille Vette-Welsh 15. Holli Wheeler 16. Takilele Katoa 17. Millie Boyle 18. Shaylee Bent. Coach: Andrew Patmore
Queensland will blood six new players, including new halfback Jenni-Sue Hoepper, who partners captain Ali Brigginshaw in the halves.
Queensland Maroons squad: 1. Chelsea Baker 2. Karina Brown 3. Stephanie Mooka 4. Amber Pilley 5. Meg Ward 6. Ali Brigginshaw 7. Jenni-Sue Hoepper 8. Heather Ballinger 9. Brittany Breayley 10. Steph Hancock 11. Tazmin Gray 12. Annette Brander 13. Rona Peters 14. Amy Turner 15. Tallisha Harden 16. Chelsea Lenarduzzi 17. Jessika Elliston 18. Elle Stitt Coach: Jason Hetherington
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday, 21st of June, 2019
Venue: North Sydney Oval
Kick-off: 7:45pm, AEST.
Referee: Grant Atkins and Belinda Sleeman
WHO WILL WIN?
An exciting clash that went down to the wire last year has left fans wanting more. The Maroons will do anything to hold the Origin shield, and with a few outs for New South Wales I can see it heading north.
Queensland by two.