Women's Nationals the perfect Origin appetiser
All six teams for the Harvey Norman Women's National Championships have been announced with the three-day tournament acting as a major selection process for the upcoming Holden Women's State of Origin on June 22.
The National Championships kick off on Friday June 1 at Owen Park in Southport and will feature an Australian Defence Force side for the first time.
Talent scouts from inaugural NRL clubs are also expected to be in attendance to cast an eye over unearthed talent and fill their final places of the expected 22-player squads for the NRL competition in September.
NSW Country boasts a strong squad with six internationals despite the loss of Jillaroos playmaker Caitlin Moran to a serious knee injury.
Country teammate Kezie Apps looked forward to representing the bush for the first time.
"I'm probably the most country-related kid you would meet growing up on a dairy farm from Bega making cheese," Apps told NRL.com.
"The passion from the country is so genuine and laid back. They're hard workers and that's the same on the footy field. I meet girls in camps and can tell they're from the country immediately. To be able to represent the country is another little dream come true."
Four members of the successful Jillaroos squad will feature for NSW City, who will play the Combined Affiliated States on Friday before a grudge match with Queensland Country on Saturday.
NSW City forward Simaima Taufa has been ruled out with a hip injury, replaced by Grace Uluiburotu in the squad.
Steph Hancock has been named in the Queensland country side as the veteran looks to push her case for one more Origin game after backflipping on retirement plans for at least one more season.
Player of the World Cup final Ali Brigginshaw has been included in the Queensland City line-up alongside Maroons skipper Karina Brown, while Talesha Quinn and Meg Ward will lead the ADF side in a first for the newly-included team.
"It's a massive first step being involved in the National Championships," Quinn said.
"When I first joined there was no league side and I pushed it for five years. Rugby union is huge in the army and well supported. Bringing in league, we're trying to convert a lot of these union girls to come and play.
"There are so many talented girls in the Defence Force that people haven't seen, so it will be a massive step for us to showcase that women in the ADF can play good footy. Hopefully we can show everyone what we can do."
The Combined Affiliated States side features 10 players from Western Australia, eight from Victoria and two from the Northern Territory.
Queensland Country: Chelsea Baker, Rhiannon Revell-Blair, Kody House, Zeah Lane, Krystal Sulter, Levinia Robinson, Lana Sheedy, Stephanie Gallagher, Brittany Breayley, Steph Hancock, Ellie Stitt, Rangimarie Edwards-Bruce, Kate Haren, Vassa Hunter, Mariah Storch, Jazmyn Taumafi, Deborah Barchard, Annette Brander, Sharnah Komene, Samartha Leisha, Sarah Field, Brianna Clark. Coach: Alan McIndoe.
Queensland City: Ali Brigginshaw, Karina Brown, Maitua Feterika, Tazmin Gray, Grace Griffin, Tallisha Harden, Amelia Kuk, Chelsea Lenaduzzi, Tarnisha Lyons, Asipau Mafi, Sasha Mahuika, Taylor Mapusua, Laken Paitai, Rona Peters, Amber Pilley, Courtney Robinson, Frieda Faulato, Canecia Sims, Lucy Yakapo, Zahara Temara. Coach: Tahnee Morris.
NSW Country: Emma Young, Eunice Grimes, Georgina Brooker, Holli Wheeler, Isabelle Kelly, Jayme Fressard, Kyara Nean, Kezie Apps, Kylie Hilder, Melanie Howard, Mikayla Malaki, Nakia Davis Welsh, Ngalika Barker, Rebecca Young, Rikeya Horne, Ruan Sims, Samantha Bremner, Shakiah Tungai, Sharon McGrady, Vanessa Foliaki, Kyara Nean, Keeley Davis, Taylah Gray, Hannah Southwell. Coach: Matt Parish.
NSW City: Taleena Simon, Jess Sergis, Corban McGregor, Shontelle Stowers, Patricia Raikadroka, Lavina O'Mealey, Maddie Studdon, Chloe Caldwell, Rebecca Riley, Elianna Walton, Jackie-Anne Tahu, Eliza Wilson, Grace Uluiburotu, Nita Maynard, Montana Fonua, Courtney Yassarie, Karol-Ann Tanevesi, Quincy Dodd, Teina Clark, Sharnita Woodman, Kate Mullaly, Christine Pauli. Coach: Steve Kelly.
Australian Defence Force: Meg Ward, Julia Robinson, Nicola Emsley, Sarah Riorden, Paige-Louise Condon, Nicole Hall, Shannon Evans, Morgan Higgins, Michaela Peck, Bree-Anne Cheatham, Nicole King, Talesha Quinn, Lucy Lockhart, Terri-Anne Ellis, Gemma Hauck, Emmalyne Mitchell, Alison Dennis, Danielle Cahill, Courtney Frankl, Breana Miller, Amber-Marie Nicol, Hayley Hunter. Coach: Darren Joseph.
Combined Affiliated States: Keisha Marshall, Charis Ulu Peniata, Danyel Davan, Jean-Shannel Robati, Latoniya Norris, Te Aroha Hapuku, Kailey Thompson, Layna Nona Busch, Katrina Edwards, Oneata Schwalger, Najvada George, Patrice Mareikura, Anneka Stephens, Juraea Turner, Cara Lucky, Melissa Thomas, Melody Wehipeihana, Lydia Turua-Quedley, Chanelle Edwards, Harley Carstairs. Coach: John Wilson.