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.
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.
|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|
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
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