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For the first time in history Women's State of Origin action heads to Queensland as the QLD Maroons look to break New South Wales' winning streak at the Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday night.
The Maroons will be looking to break the Blues streak as they host the re-formatted Origin for the first time. Having tasted defeat in the past two years, the Maroons will be looking to be get revenge over the Blues and playing both in front of a home crowd as well as a number of key players heading into the game off the back of an NRLW premiership victory for the Broncos.
Dominance in the NRLW season has seen the Queensland squad dominated Brisbane Broncos players with 12 members of the premiership including Dally M winner Ali Brigginshaw and Karen Murphy Medal winner Amber Hall. The Queensland side also sees Roosters half Zahara Temara named along her younger sister Chante Temara who played for the Queensland under 18's side in 2019. Despite not playing in the NRLW, veterans Brittany Breayley and Rona Peters have been selected in the Queensland squad.
Since the inaugural Women's Interstate Challenge began in 1999, it took New South Wales until 2016 to taste victory over a Queensland side but since that point it has been a Blue wave for NSW having won the final two interstate challenge games and then the first two matches under the State of Origin banner. The Blues have had the luxury of playing in front of a home crowd in the past two seasons but will be up against it having to play in front of a parochial Queensland crowd.
The NSW squad as seen a number of changes from coach Andy Patmore including dropping Kirra Dibb and Maddie Studdon as a result of mixed form during the NRLW season. Roosters duo Corban McGregor and Melanie Howard are expected to be named in the halves for NSW as replacements. The Blues will also be missing Sam Bremner in their squad due to family commitments as well as Vanessa Foliaki, Shontelle Stowers and Shakiah Tungai who were left out of the squad.
Last meeting: Women's Origin 2019 - NSW Women 14 QLD Women 4
Who to watch: One of the most improved players in the NRLW, Zahara Temara was the key player for the Roosters on their way to the NRLW grand final this season. Temara had to take on a main role for her side but pairing up with Ali Brigginshaw will take a mountain of pressure of the shoulders Temara and could give her a chance for a strong performance.
Big responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Corban McGregor with the Roosters star expected to be named in the halves for the Origin clash. McGregor played in both the centres and five-eighth role during the NRLW season so a move into the halves is a big step for NSW. McGregor will need to play a leading role up against the experience pair of Brigginshaw and Temara.
The favourite: The Queenslanders will go into the contest as favourite with the momentum of the dominant Broncos side in the squad as well as playing at home. The NSW Blues won't be helped by a slew of team changes due to injuries and a lack of form.
My tip: It's hard to look past Queensland for this one; Playing in the Sunshine State for the first time under the new format will be a boost but with the majority of the squad filled with Broncos players, they will be looking to keep their momentum and form going into the Origin arena. Queensland by 10.
1. Tamika Upton 2. Shenae Ciesiolka 3. Julia Robinson 4. Lauren Brown 5. Karina Brown 6. Tarryn Aiken 7. Zahara Temara 8. Chelsea Lenarduzzi 9. Brittany Breayley 14. Rona Peters 11. Tallisha Harden 12. Tazmin Gray 13. Ali Brigginshaw 10. Stephanie Hancock 15. Annette Brander 16. Shannon Mato 17. Shaniah Power
1. Botille Vette-Welsh 2. Jessica Sergis 3. Tiana Penitani 4. Isabelle Kelly 5. Shanice Parker 6. Corban McGregor 7. Melanie Howard 8. Simaima Taufa 20. Kylie Hilder 10. Millie Boyle 11. Kezie Apps 12. Shaylee Bent 13. Hannah Southwell 14. Quincy Dodd 15. Filomina Hanisi 16. Sarah Togatuki 17. Yasmin Meakes
Referees: Belinda Sharpe; Sideline Officials: Liam Kennedy, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Video Referees: Shayne Hayne;