NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder was left to rue a poor completion rate and a string of costly errors as her maiden voyage at the helm ended in a heartbreak with an 8-6 loss to Queensland at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The Blues completed just 20 of 32 sets and put themselves under enormous pressure in the second half as the game went down to the wire.
"I thought the game was good but we just made way too many mistakes and the girls know that,” Hilder said.
“We had a really good game plan which we stuck to and played some really good footy but I think the conditions didn't play into our hands with the style that we wanted to play."
The Maroons capitalised on the Blues mistakes to dominate field possession in the closing stages and took the front with a minute to play when Chelsea Lenarduzzi received a penalty in front of the posts and Lauren Brown slotted the shot.
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Hilder said NSW had centred their game plan around ball control but let themselves down.
"The conditions didn't help but there’s no excuses, these girls have been training all week and they’re all good footballers but, yeah, our own little mistakes cost us."
Sky Blues captain Kezie Apps worked herself to a standstill in defence with 38 tackles and was left to ponder what might have been had her team stayed composed with ball in hand.
“Playing in the wet you obviously have to hold the ball a little bit more and control it and in that second half we didn’t really control the ball as much as we'd like to," Apps said.
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“We trained well in the weather in Sydney it was a little bit wet down there so it is what it is.”
Winger Yasmin Meakes, who ran for 105 metres and had four tackle breaks, summed up the Blues' frustration when she said that Queensland took advantage of the NSW mistakes and made them pay.
“It's a massive loss, we worked really hard this week but we just lost it in those 'one percenters' and just not getting to our kicks or losing the ball in the ruck on maybe the fourth or fifth tackle," Meakes said.
"We’ve got a lot to learn for next year and I think Queensland just took advantage of those mistakes that we were making.”
Despite the disappoinment, Hilder was full of praise for players on both sides and the quality they produced in trying conditions.
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“If it’s an 8-6 scoreline at the end of an Origin, it’s a good game,” she said.
“It would have been better on our end but it was a great game of footy especially in the conditions and to see the amount of people that came out in the rain was awesome.”