Home General News NSW women claim State of Origin crown in thriller

NSW women claim State of Origin crown in thriller

by Anthony L. Gonzalez

NSW has reclaimed the Women’s State of Origin shield, winning a pulse-pounding encounter against Queensland 20-14, with dynamic center Isabelle Kelly winning the Nellie Doherty Medal.

After Queensland captain Ali Brigginshaw hit the post with a conversion attempt that would have tied the score with 12 minutes left on Friday, Kelly capped off a stunning 192m 10-tackle bust show with the seal try.

The Blues put two years of heartbreak behind them in front of a Women’s Origin record of 11,321 fans at Canberra’s GIO Stadium. They took an overall 3-2 lead in series wins since the Origin clashes officially began in 2018.

In a rollercoaster finish, Queensland appeared to have scored to steal the win with four minutes left to play, but NSW fans were entranced when the bunker denied the try, with winger Julia Robinson judged offside on the ensuing kick.

NSW women claim State of Origin crown in thriller

Fresh off a Gatorade soaked to celebrate the feat, NSW coach Kylie Hilder spoke of her pride for her victorious side.

“This team will not be the same in the future; it never is; your Origin sides are always changing,” she told reporters.

Two-year trip

“So on occasions where we’ve just won, we’re going to make sure we really celebrate this win because, in 2023, the same group won’t be the same.

“We’ve been building this for two years, we’ve spent all year building this team, and we’re very close.

“The bond we have as a team, not just on the pitch, but off it, and I think that showed on the pitch.”

They had jumped to a 12-4 win thanks to first-half tries from Emma Tonegato and Kirra Dib, while four goals from half-back Rachael Pearson kept them always turning their heads.

Origin games are often won in the middle, and this clash was no different, with emphatic displays of NSW props Simaima Taufa (125m and 32 tackles) and Millie Boyle (118m and 28 tackles) matching Kelly’s brilliance.

“Samaima Taufa is a freak,” Hilder told reporters.

“I have the best outside backs in the game, but I also have the best middles right now, and if you’re blessed with that, it’s pretty easy to put things together.”

Reigning Dally M winner Tonegato was also outstanding; the rugby sevens Olympic gold medalist continued her top of another code with a few blistering runs and the first try on her part, planting a brutal dummy half-grubber kick from Keeley Davis.

‘It was a tough one.’

Queensland went through the lock Destiny Brill early when she crashed in eight minutes, but they sometimes struggled to contain the dynamic NSW attack determined to reclaim the shield.

Tarryn Aiken and Brigginshaw checked things through the boot with 301 steps, but discipline ultimately took care of the Maroons with Pearson’s penalty goals that always kept the Blues’ nose up front.

The disallowed attempt that could have won the shield was a brutal blow to Queensland national team coach Tahnee Norris.

“It was a difficult one; of course, I still feel at this point and will do so for a while,” she told reporters.

“We couldn’t capitalize on a few chances there, and the girls fought until the end. … it was a rollercoaster and disappointing to get away with a loss.

“To see the girls put in (and lose) so much effort really hurts.”

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