Following last year’s 24-18 defeat on the Sunshine Coast, NSW are hoping to match Queensland’s physicality and up-tempo style of play when they meet again this Friday night.
Last year we witnessed the highest-scoring game in women’s State of Origin history, with many expecting the points to flow again this year.
NSW five-eighth Corban Baxter is expecting Queensland to come out “very fast” again.
“They’ve obviously got a lot of strike power across the field,” Baxter said.
“We’re expecting a very physical, very fast game and it’s going to be an extremely tough one.”
Baxter is hopeful that her natural game will suit the conditions perfectly.
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“[I want] to play real eyes-up, fast footy,” she said. “Sort of having an outside back background, I think my running game is my strength … [The coaches are] just making sure that I play to my strengths.”
The game will be played at Sunshine Coast Stadium for the second consecutive year, with a bumper crowd again expected.
“It’s always a little bit hostile up there … we sort of just try to stay calm and deal with that pressure,” Baxter said.
“We’ll have some Blues repping for us up there … I know this year there’s going to be a Blatchy’s Blues section, which is pretty fun so hopefully we’ve got some Blues support and some of our families coming up too.”
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NSW will welcome back accomplished forward Holli Wheeler after she ruptured her ACL at last year’s NRL 9s in Perth.
Wheeler says that being back in the State of Origin arena “means the world”.
“It was a long 12 months and, to be honest, everything in those 12 months recovering was to be back on the field in this sky-blue jersey,” Wheeler said.
“It means the world to me, so to be able to pull this back on is a dream come true.”
Wheeler says it is “amazing” to be back in camp with her NSW teammates.
“The vibe in this Blues camp is always amazing and the group of girls that Kylie [Hilder] and Toovs (Geoff Toovey) have got together just compliment each other,” she said.
“We have as much fun on the field as we do off … it’s going to be an enjoyable game up there, that’s for sure.”
Following last year’s disappointment, Wheeler says the squad will be “full focused” heading into this year’s clash.
“They were so strong across the park last year and their fullback in Tamika [Upton], you know, you can see what she can do and their halves pairing last year were fantastic and Ali [Brigginshaw] in the middle,” she said.
“Obviously, those four are people that we’re identifying but, you know, you can’t sort of I guess turn a blind eye on any of the Queenslanders, so we’ll be full focused and make sure we’re matching up to our players and doing our job on the field.”
Women’s Origin tickets are on sale via NRL Tickets. Supporters can watch the historic match from just $5 for juniors, $15 for adults and $35 for families.