State of Origin history to be made on eve of NRL Magic Round

THE first three-match Women’s State of Origin series begins on Thursday with game one taking place at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on the eve of the NRL’s Magic Round.

An official Origin series between New South Wales and Queensland only began in 2018, and continued as a one-off fixture until 2022.

Last year, the rivalry was played out over two matches for the first time, with each side winning one game and Queensland taking the shield on aggregate.

Now Women’s Origin will mirror the format of the men’s series, with Thursday’s opener (which kicks-off at 10.45am UK time and is broadcast by Sky Sports) followed by game two on June 6 at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium and game three on June 27 at Queensland Country Bank Stadium in Townsville.

The men’s ties take place on June 5 (Accor Stadium, Sydney), June 26 (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and July 27 (Suncorp Stadium).

For the women, Origin takes place before the NRLW league season begins in late July.

Queensland coach Tahnee Norris said: “To finally get the three-game series, and to have it early (in the year), is really exciting in itself. 

“We’re looking forward to a really good crowd at Suncorp, where we have home advantage.

“It was a record crowd last year at Townsville (18,275 for the second match). Queenslanders are so passionate about Rugby League. I hope they get behind it. 

“It’s such a special place to play, Suncorp Stadium. The girls are really looking forward to it. 

“Some of them haven’t played there before so to be part of that and create history with a big crowd will be amazing.”

Every NRL team bar St George Illawarra Dragons will then participate in the fifth Magic Round, all of which have taken place at Suncorp Stadium, with games played between Friday and Sunday and all televised in the UK by Sky Sports.

Women’s State of Origin Game One squads

Queensland: Tamika Upton, Julia Robinson, Shenae Ciesiolka, Evan Pelite, Emily Bass, Tarryn Aiken, Zahara Temara, Shannon Mato, Destiny Brill, Jessika Elliston, Tazmin Gray, Romy Teitzel, Ali Brigginshaw. Subs: Emma Manzelmann, Keilee Joseph, Sophie Holyman, Lauren Brown. Reserves: Sienna Lofipo, Skyla Adams, Makenzie Weale.

New South Wales: Emma Tonegato, Jaime Chapman, Jessica Sergis, Isabelle Kelly, Tiana Penitani, Corban Baxter, Rachael Pearson, Millie Elliot, Olivia Higgins, Caitlan Johnston, Yasmin Clydesdale, Kezie Apps, Keeley Davis. Subs: Taliah Fuimaono, Olivia Kernick, Grace Kemp, Sarah Togatuki. Reserves: Jakiya Whiteld, Kirra Dibb.

First published in League Express newspaper, Issue 3,430 (May 13, 2024)

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