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The Women’s State of Origin goes on the line tonight when New South Wales takes on Queensland at GIO Stadium in Canberra. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7.45pm AEST.
There’s discussion every year about making the Women’s State of Origin a best of 3 series. But, for now at least, bragging rights come down to this one game.
The Blues will be hoping that the move away from the Sunshine Coast brings better luck for this year’s series. Queensland will be looking for 3 wins in a row.
Last year, a dubious ruck infringement penalty, with time running out, gave the Maroons a 2 point win. You get the feeling the Blues have been waiting 12 months to try and turn the tables.
With Corban Baxter out with a hamstring injury, Kirra Dibb comes in for the Blues at 6 with Rachael Pearson her halves partner. Olivia Kernick and Caitlan Johnston will make their NSW debut from the bench.
Emma Tonegato, the latest Dally M medal winner and Rugby Sevens convert, will start at fullback in what is a very dangerous Blues backline. With the experience and class of Jessica Sergis and Isabelle Kelly in the centres, NSW does look to have some points in them.
For the Maroons, two rugby sevens converts, Evania Pelite and Emily Bass, will make their debuts in the backline.
A sign of the strength of the Queensland squad is that veterans Karina Brown and Zahara Temara have been left out.
On the back of a strong forward pack, Ali Brigginshaw, Tarryn Aiken and Tamika Upton have proved the difference in recent years and they are all back for another go. The Blues will need to find a way to blunt Brigginshaw, in particular, to come away with a win.
The Blues will still be hurting from last year’s defeat and will be desperate for revenge.
On paper, there is little to separate these teams.
But in a new venue, with the bulk of the crowd on their side, NSW will get home in a close one.
NSW by 4
Kick-off: 7:45pm AEST
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
TV/Stream: Fox League, Nine Network, 9Now
Odds: NSW $1.80, Queensland $2.00 – odds via PlayUp
1. Emma Tonegato 2. Yasmin Clydsdale 3. Jessica Sergis 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Tiana Penitani 6. Kirra Dibb 7. Rachael Pearson 8. Simaima Taufa 9. Keeley Davis 10. Millie Boyle 11. Kezie Apps 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Hannah Southwell
Interchange: 14. Quincy Dodd 15. Sarah Togatuki 16. Caitlan Johnston 17. Olivia Kernick.
Extended Squad: 18. Sam Bremner 19. Teagan Berry 20. Filomina Hanisi 21. Talei Holmes 22. Corban Baxter
1. Tamika Upton 2. Emily Bass 3. Evania Pelite 4. Shenae Ciesiolka 5. Julia Robinson 6. Tarryn Aiken 7. Ali Brigginshaw 8. Chelsea Lenarduzzi 9. Brittany Breayley-Nati 10. Shannon Mato 11. Tallisha Harden 12. Tazmin Gray 13. Destiny Brill
Interchange: 14. Lauren Brown 15. Jessika Elliston 16. Steph Hancock 17. Tiana Raftstrand-Smith.
Extended Squad: 18. Zahara Temara 19. Karina Brown 20. Romy Teitzel 21. Keilee Joseph 22. Sara Sautia