PREVIEW: 2023 Women's State of Origin I

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New South Wales Women v Queensland Women Thursday 7:45pm at CommBank Stadium, Parramatta / Burramattagal

Revenge or dominance? Coming just 24 hours after their male counterparts, the Women's State Of Origin will take on a new level on Thursday night as New South Wales and Queensland contest the first match of the two-game series in Parramatta.

Moving to multiple-game series, the contest takes a different form in 2023 and both sides will be looking to get on the strongest foot possible with either NSW wanting a big win before heading into enemy territory. Conversely, Queensland will want to enter enemy territory taking the victory before heading to the familiar footing in Townsville and sealing the series.

New South Wales are the current holders of the Origin Shield after scoring a 20-14 victory in Canberra last year. The Blues won the first two matches of the revamped State Of Origin series in 2018 and 2019 before the series moved to Queensland and the Maroons took victory in 2020 and 2021. Neutral territory in 2022 saw the Blues take an overall 3-2 series lead.

Judging form at this time of the season, especially for the Women's game is tough because both state competitions have been concluded for several weeks and the NRLW pre-season now only just beginning.

It was a strong season for most of the Blues players in the Harvey Norman Women's Premiership although, from the Grand Final, only one player features for New South Wales being Kennedy Cherrington who was on the beaten Bulldogs side. Although, NSW second-rower Shaylee Bent did play in the beaten Wynnum-Manly side in Queensland's BMD Premiership.

New South Wales have elected to shift things around from the successful side in Canberra last week with Jesse Southwell set to make her Origin debut at five-eighth in place of Kirra Dibb who starred in the recent City V Country game. Other changes to the New South Wales see Jaime Chapman debut on the wing with Yasmin Clydesdale moving to the second row. Taliah Fuimaono and Brooke Anderson also debut for the Blues.

The same situation for New South Wales applies to Queensland with players sitting in between seasons at the moment so it's hard to gauge the form levels. In the recent BMD Premiership Grand Final Zahara Temara was a strong performer for the Burleigh Bears in their grand final win.

Queensland coach Tahnee Norris has used the experience in her squad to change things around significantly with Ali Brigginshaw returning to the lock role which she has been so lethal in the NRLW at. This sees Zahara Temara play in the halves with Tarryn Aiken. Keilee Joseph will debut in the front row whilst rookies Sophie Holyman, Emma Manzelmann and Romy Teitzel all make their debuts.

Last meeting: Only Match 2022 - Blues 20 Maroons 14

Who to watch: For New South Wales one of the key players to watch is going to be Jesse Southwell who has made a big impact in her short time in the game. A rookie in 2022, Southwell showed no signs that she wasn't up for the big games having had experience in Rugby 7s and her controlling hand leading the Knights to a premiership. The Origin arena shouldn't have any fear in the Knights half but it's her controlling hand that could control things.

On the opposite end of the experience scale, Ali Brigginshaw is a living legend of the Rugby League in Australia, the Queensland captain has played both in the halves and lock and adds that extra key playmaker for the Maroons. Brigginshaw's steady and cool hand when things get tough she can step in and control the ship. The leadership of Brigginshaw is going to be key to the performance.

The favourite: On home soil, NSW would have a slight edge but both sides are evenly matched.

My tip: This is a game that always goes down to the wire and it's hard to see it be any exception again in Game 1 of 2023. I'm putting NSW on top in a close one, the need for a good start in the series is what is going to push them and in front of a big crowd at Parramatta will be the boost they need in a game that could go to golden point.

1. Emma Tonegato 2. Jaime Chapman 14. Taliah Fuimaono 4. Isabelle Kelly 3. Jessica Sergis 6. Jesse Southwell 7. Rachael Pearson 13. Kennedy Cherrington 9. Keeley Davis 10. Millie Boyle 11. Olivia Kernick 12. Yasmin Clydsdale 16. Brooke Anderson 8. Kezie Apps 15. Sarah Togatuki 17. Shaylee Bent 19. Quincy Dodd 18. Ellie Johnston

1. Tamika Upton 2. Julia Robinson 3. Shenae Ciesiolka 4. Evania Pelite 5. Emily Bass 6. Tarryn Aiken 7. Zahara Temara 8. Shannon Mato 9. Destiny Brill 10. Keilee Joseph 11. Tazmin Gray 12. Shaniah Power 13. Ali Brigginshaw 14. Emma Manzelmann 15. Jessika Elliston 16. Sophie Holyman 17. Romy Teitzel 18. China Polata

Referees: Adam Gee; Sideline Officials: Dave Munro, Belinda Sharpe; Video Referees: Wyatt Raymond;

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