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Match Preview: Women's State of Origin, NSW vs. QLD

Following last year's history-making clash, New South Wales and Queensland meet for the second time in history with the annual women's State of Origin clash at North Sydney Oval.

Wests Tigers Harvey Norman NSW Women's Premiership fullback Botille Vette-Welsh will become the club's first senior women's player to reach the representative arena and the ninth Wests Tigers players to reach the Origin stage.

Newly-appointed Blues Coach Andrew Patmore has brought in a number of new players following last year's win over the Maroons, with 43-year-old Kylie Hilder the exception to that after being selected at hooker.

Queensland will field a similar side to last year's game, with Ali Brigginshaw set to partner a new face in the halves in experienced playmaker Sue Hoepper.

The clash could also be the final game for Maroons stalwarts Stephanie Hancock and Heather Ballinger before the potentially decide to hang up the boots.

With 15 players making their debuts across both states, experience will be key for the teams on the night — an area New South Wales has a distinct advantage in.

It's shaping as a great night of rugby league at North Sydney Oval on Friday with the inaugural Women's U/18 State of Origin being played as a curtain-raiser, with Wests Tigers players Emily Curtain, Sophie Curtain and Janaya Bent all in action.

MATCH DETAILS

Date — Friday, June 21

Time — 7:45pm AEST

Venue — North Sydney Oval

TV AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION

Live TV is coverage via Channel 9, with a free live stream via 9now.com.au.

TEAMS

NEW SOUTH WALES   QUEENSLAND
Corban McGregor 1 Chelsea Baker
Jessica Sergis 2 Karina Brown
Tiana Pentani 3 Stephanie Mooka
Isabelle Kelly 4 Amber Piley
Shakiah Tungai 5 Meg Ward
Kirra Dibb 6 Ali Brigginshaw
Maddie Studdon 7 Jenni-Sue Hoepper
Simaima Taufa-Kautai 8 Heather Ballinger
Kylie Hilder 9 Brittany Brealey
Vanessa Foliaki 10 Steph Hancock
Kezie Apps 11 Tazmin Gray
Shontelle Stowers 12 Anette Brander
Hannah Southwell 13 Rona Peters
Botille Vette-Welsh 14 Amy Turner
Holli Wheeler 15 Tallisha Harden
Takiele Katoa 16 Chelsea Lenarduzzi
Millie Boyle 17 Jessika Elliston
Shaylee Bent 18 Elle Stitt
Andrew Patmore Coach Jason Hetherington

HISTORY

Last season, NSW secured a 16-10 victory. In that game, NSW managed 14 one-on-one tackles compared to just the two for Queensland. Queensland wasn't as slick in their backline movements but still managed six offloads to one, indicating second-phase play is in them and something both sides should rely a lot more heavily on.  

KEY MATCHUP — Isabelle Kelly vs. Stephanie Mooka

With a battle expected in the centres, it’s rookie Stephanie Mooka who will be handed the task of marking Isabelle Kelly. Kelly was rewarded with last year’s Nellie Doherty Medallist for the best player on the field, following two tries and 126 metres. Her opponent, Mooka, is an AFL convert who has the height, size and speed to match Kelly and try contain her to help guide her side to victory.

WHAT THEY SAID

"I think the occasion of last year it all was a bit of a celebration and first. It's still a massive occasion this year but the mentality needs to be different, it's on now and we're out to turn these results around.” — Jason Hetherington (NRL.com) 

“Our coach has a plan in place that lets us play some expansive footy. We will miss that experience in the middle but with the new blood coming through you know they’ll be buying into this culture that those players let behind.” — Simaima Taufa

PREDICTION

If the Blues can get ahead early, there's every chance it rattle the Maroons' confidence and allow the home side to control the contest. New South Wales' major strength is their fitness and on-field combinations, with their left and right sides put together with players who have plenty of games at club or representative level together. However, the exact same goes for Queensland with their side predominantly featuring players from the NRLW-premiership winning Broncos. With the experience in their side and particularly the halves, Queensland can handle everything the Blues throw at them and sneak home with the win this time.

Queensland by 8