Women’s 2022 Home State Forms Are The Most Influential In The Series’ Short History | State of origin

Jthere aren’t too many places more unwelcoming than Canberra’s GIO Stadium in the dead of winter. If the NSW Blues hope to reverse the trend of Queensland supremacy in the Women’s Home State over the past two years, they have found the best possible place to do so.

For Queenslanders who think anything below 20C is a bit chilly and might require a coat and scarf, the icy depths of a concrete bowl in Bruce with no protection from the elements present the challenge. ultimate. The stadium is also considerably larger than previous women’s Origin venues – a capacity of 25,000 compared to 12,000 at Sunshine Coast Stadium and 10,000 at North Sydney Oval. With the announcement last week that the Canberra Raiders will join an expanded NRLW competition in 2023, there is hope that this anticipation can bring the Canberrans out of their warm homes and into the GIO Stadium to give the Blues an edge. extra in the competition.

A victory in this game has also gained prominence since the announcement that next year’s series will be reduced from one game to two. This means that in the fairly likely event of a tied series, the Shield will be awarded to the previous year’s winner, providing a significant understanding of the balance of power for the winner of this year’s standalone game.

With the chance to forge a legacy combined with the memories of the fiery end to last year’s game – when Queensland came away with an 8-6 victory after a penalty in the final minutes – this is shaping up to be the women’s Origin game. the most influential. in its short history.

This series also sees the Origin debuts of two Olympic gold medalists in Evania Pelite (Queensland) and Emma Tonegato (NSW). Tonegato was a revelation for the St George Illawarra Dragons in the NRLW season, with speed, timing and determination that redefined the position at fullback. Dally M’s co-winner made the tackle of the year at Roosters center – and now Blues teammate – Jessica Sergis in a desperate effort to try and save in the fifth round and was instrumental in catapulting the Dragons in the Grand Finals when most pundits had almost written them out before the start of the season.

Tonegato will also have plenty of established relationships to draw on, with Dragons team-mates including Rachael Pearson (half-back), Keeley Davis (hooker) and captain Kezie Apps (second row) playing alongside him for NSW. Dally M’s other recipient – prop Millie Boyle – will also line up for the Blues, bringing with her the kind of power that has averaged 18 hits and 198 running yards in her five games this season. NRLW. It’s a formidable line-up and coach Kylie Hilder will be confident her team has the talent to secure victory.

Hilder herself has only recently retired from a role on the pitch – last appearing for the Blues in the 2020 loss to Queensland at the age of 44. She took over the coaching reins the following year and was given the job again for 2022, with some unfinished business to settle after a heartbreaking end last year.

The Maroons celebrate after last year’s win at the Sunshine Coast Stadium. Photography: Darren England/AAP

The Maroons, on the other hand, can never be ignored, whether in women or men Origin. Although the NSW sides got the better of the NRLW, the Broncos and Titans both had strong seasons and only narrowly lost their semi-finals. The Queensland squad features 17 players from both teams, and there’s a lot of strength in their roster. Ali Brigginshaw is a mainstay at halfback, while fullback Tamika Upton provides the flair and 2021 Nellie Doherty Award winner Tamzin Gray at second tier brings the power.

It was a landmark year for women’s rugby league. After a 491-day hiatus between the NRLW’s third and fourth seasons, this year will see the fifth season kick off in August – just four months after the players last hung up their cleats. The expansion of the competition for 2023, with the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks, North Queensland Cowboys and Wests Tigers – alongside the Raiders – joining the competition, will see an increase from six teams to 10 and mark the most significant development in the competition since its creation in 2018.

This expanded player base also adds pressure to players competing in Origin. With more and more young talent rising through the ranks and gaining more experience in the burgeoning NRLW, the competition for blue and brown shirt spots will be more intense than ever. Along with the state pride at stake, players will know this game is their opportunity to make an impression and demonstrate their importance to the selectors.

This all sets up a tantalizing contest on Friday as the crunch of boots on ice and the roars of a rugged crowd are set to become the soundtrack to a historic women’s Origin match.

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