Men’s State of Origin may already be considered the pinnacle of the rugby league calendar, but the women’s match keeps getting better every year.
While the Blues are coming off back to back wins, the Maroons have the home advantage for the first time in five years. The last time they played in Queensland was during their 17-year winning streak, so the location could prove costly for the Blues.
Ali Brigginshaw is named at lock where she excelled for Brisbane this season, with Tarryn Aiken and Zahara Temara playing in the halves. 2018 Dally M Female Player of the Year Brittany Breayley makes her return at hooker after missing this NRL-W season. Warriors player Shaniah Power has been included on the bench to make her Origin debut.
New South Wales Blues
Botille Vette-Welsh moves to fullback, with Corban McGregor and Melanie Howard in the halves and young star Keeley Davis at hooker. Dragons guns Jessica Sergis and Tiana Penitani will once again pair up on the wing and centre. Isabelle Kelly and skipper Kezie Apps have been named to play despite ankle and knee injuries, with Brydie Parker, Kennedy Cherrington and Kylie Hilder in the reserves as potential replacements.
Where it Will be Won
Both teams feature fresh halves pairings, and this could be crucial in a close match. While McGregor and Howard played together this year at club level, Temara and Aiken have only had two short weeks to click.
Brigginshaw vs Southwell. Both were the opposing locks in the Grand Final, with one winning the Dally M Female Player of the Year, and the other voted The Players’ Champion by her peers, and both have become stars of the NRL-W. They were both phenomenal at club level but can be expected to lift even higher for Origin.
While you can’t ride the Blues off completely, you also can’t look past the strength and success in the Broncos team list. Several of their players featured in the Bronco’s successful premiership campaign, and they will be lead out by the 2020 Dally M Female Player of the Year, Ali Brigginshaw. The Blues will have to come out hard and fast to top that, especially without the home advantage. Maroons by 8.