Tranter's first taste of league's great rivalry
She has 15 years of experience playing for Queensland against New South Wales in the rugby union arena but Selena Tranter knows that interstate rivalry in rugby league will take her to a whole other level this Saturday.
At 41 years of age Tranter will make her debut for a Queensland team that has reigned supreme over NSW for the past 17 years but has a decorated career in rugby union that includes being the Wallaroos' most capped player of all time.
The clash between Queensland and NSW serves as the opening game to a double-header that also features the NRL game between the Titans and the Eels at Cbus Super Stadium on Saturday afternoon with last year's result a 4-all draw in Townsville.
Born into a household in Mackay with split allegiances when it came to State of Origin, Tranter only began playing rugby league last year and was selected to play for Queensland before having to withdraw due to injury.
A key member of the Burleigh team that won the Brisbane and District premiership last season, Tranter was unsure another opportunity to represent Queensland would come her way but said she is excited about what rugby league's fiercest rivalry will throw at her.
"Steph [Hancock, Queensland and Australia captain] bailed me up and told me that the toughest game I have played in league so far, this will be 10 times as fast and hard," said Tranter.
"You always hear people talk about State of Origin, the blokes talk about it, so you know that it will be a step up for sure.
"I grew up with three older brothers and an older sister and my youngest brother and I were born in Queensland and the rest were born in NSW so State of Origin has always been hotly contested in our house.
"Queensland-New South Wales is just a whole different breed of game. You can play any other team – maybe New Zealand is up there in terms of competitiveness – but there's just something about Queensland-NSW."
A back-rower considered one of the strongest hitters in the women's game, Tranter played in the All Stars game in February but has no expectations of cracking it for a spot in the Jillaroos team.
Her introduction to rugby league came as a virtue of living close by to Burleigh's home ground of Pizzey Park and a desire to scratch that sporting itch before having to retire from competitive sport.
Despite her lack of experience in rugby league to that point Tranter was selected to play for Queensland 12 months ago and said ruling herself out due to injury was one of the toughest decisions she has made in her sporting endeavours.
"To get that injury, it was something that I probably could have pushed through but I don't think that's right," said Tranter, who was being troubled by a knee cartilage problem.
"It was just a matter of convenience that I took up rugby league. To then get picked in the south-east Queensland team I was stoked and then to get picked for Queensland I was quite overwhelmed. I may have even shed a tear or two, it was really emotional.
"When you get picked for a Queensland team you want to be able to give it everything that you've got so it was a bit overwhelming last year. Since then I've worked really hard to be ready should the opportunity come again.
"I didn't feel 100 per cent and I thought that if I couldn't give 100 per cent then I'd rather someone else have the opportunity, especially at my age. If you can't be giving 100 per cent younger ones should be given the opportunity."
Titans back-rower Chris McQueen has represented Queensland five times in the Origin arena and spoke of his admiration for the women's game having seen it for the first time at the Auckland Nines in 2014.
"There are some pretty skilful girls out there playing the game," said McQueen.
"It was good to see that the Jillaroos and the Kiwi girls' game was on TV this year but I'm excited for this one this weekend.
"Queensland have won 17 in a row – had the draw last year – but excited to watch that.
"[The Nines] was good to watch. They've got some skill out there the girls and they can whack so it's pretty entertaining to watch."
As for the prospect of Queensland's dominance coming to an end, Tranter said that she and the rest of the team know they are the ones with everything to lose.
"It's daunting because if they lose I'll be the unlucky charm!" she said.
"We can't take anything for granted going into this game. I know Ru (NSW captain Ruan Sims) will have the girls up and ready to go and any game between Queensland and New South Wales is up for grabs from the beginning.
"Obviously it's an achievement [to be unbeaten for 17 years] but the girls don't take that for granted at all.
"Obviously there is a lot to lose and a lot to win for NSW because of it but really you have to take each game as it comes."