A late Isabelle Kelly try was enough to give the New South Wales Blues a 16-10 win over Queensland in a tough inaugural women’s Origin match.
As both sides went try-for-try and toe-to-toe, it was Kelly who broke the deadlock to give the Blues the win.
It is the third consecutive win for the Blues over the Maroons in the women’s match and the first under the Origin banner.
NSW were dealt an early blow when Corban McGregor was forced to leave the field due to a dislocated shoulder.
They would still score first points, however, as captain Maddie Studdon, Sam Bremner and Kelly combined, with the latter scoring.
QLD would hit back, though, as Karina Brown went down the short side to score.
Chelsea Baker than slotted the conversion from the sideline to make the score 6-all at the break.
NSW were dealt further blows when both Vanessa Foliaki and and Rebecca Riley also left the field injured.
As the big, earth-shattering hits continued, neither side could find rhythm or momentum to push on.
Though NSW managed to dig deep and find something as Bremner was again involved, with Nakia Davis-Welsh scoring a try.
QLD hit back as Brown scored a double after an Ali Brigginshaw dummy put her over.
Although it was Kelly who starred, scoring the winning try and capping off a tremendous women’s Origin match.
With the game only going for sixty minutes (two thirty minute halves), Maroons coach Brett Hetherington would like to see that altered.
“I think you’d have to progress up to it, go to 35 minutes [first],” Hetherington said.
“It would make my job easier and give everyone a run. You’ve got four reserves with eight interchange and you want to give everyone equal opportunity but it didn’t end up that way.”
“You could go to 35 and see how that works and then eventually get up to 40.
“We could’ve really struggled but they got into the wrestle and the girls got on top in certain periods of that game,” the Maroons coach continued.
“I thought it was a great game of footy on both sides. I could see it coming, they worked it well, pulled us in the middle.
Remarkably, Blues captain Maddie Studdon lost her job after her employer gave her an ultimatum.
The job or rugby league.
For Studdon, the decision was easy; rugby league.
“I was always going to pick rugby league, especially that Origin jersey,” Studdon said.
“I couldn’t get the commitment off them and I was putting in my 100 per cent as well.
This is my job (captain of NSW) and if that’s how it’s going to be, I’m so proud and happy with how it turned out.”
The decision also drew praise from NSW coach Ben Cross who lauded Studdon for her sacrifice and pride in the jersey.
“You’ve got to get the time off work to do it and she couldn’t get the time off work,” Cross said.
“That’s the sacrifices these women are making to wear the Origin jersey – they’re losing jobs over it.”
Player of the Game:
3. Isabelle Kelly
2. Sammy Bremner
- Karina Brown