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'More relaxed than ever': Why Studdon's feeling back home in blue

When Maddie Studdon sat on the panel for Fox League previewing the women's State of Origin clash In November last year, she was feeling a bit helpless.

The 26-year-old had played a pivotal part for NSW in the two years prior, guiding the team to victories over Queensland at North Sydney Oval.

Her co-host, Kirra Dibb, also sat next to her feeling just as flat.

Dibb was Studdon's NSW halves partner in 2019 but the pair suffered setbacks when they were both overlooked for the Sky Blues last year due to mixed form.

Studdon is first to admit she wasn't at her best ahead of her return to the NSW side on Friday night.

But if anything, she grew more motivated to get back into the jersey she once made her own. 

Studdon slices through for the Blues

"I'm more relaxed than I've ever been," Studdon tells NRL.com.

"My life off the field is going great and that makes it a lot easier when you step onto the field.

"Last year it was really tough to watch the girls lose the game and it made me hungrier to get back into the side and get that trophy back.

"I have a nice and clear mindset and being around the girls and Kylie [NSW coach Kylie Hilder]. It's been unbelievable to come back into that.

"I feel like I'm back home."

Maroons v Sky Blues

Studdon said the main changes around her own game came with the understanding she's only one piece in the puzzle for the side. Previously, Studdon has been guilty of overplaying her hand.

"I think working with Corbs [five-eighth Corban Baxter] in camp this week, it's our first time as a halves combination at this level we're family, which helps us both stay calm," Studdon said.

"We've been going well at the Sharks and working on our connection. The communication is very easy with us both.

"We know what we have to go out there and do and that's to smash the Queenslanders."

Studdon's goal-kicking will also be crucial to NSW's chances of going up by sixes, particularly with wet conditions predicted on Friday night.

The former Jillaroo benefited from spending time with men's NSW halfback Nathan Cleary during the week and took plenty of tips away from the Panthers playmaker.

"It's unbelievable that he can find the time to help us, those sessions go a long way," she said.

"He gave me a lot of tips especially around bad weather and how it gets set up. It doesn't change much, you've got to keep your same routine and listen to the wind.

"In the women's game, there's only a couple who can kick them regularly from the sideline.

"A lot of it comes down to power which women naturally don't have as much as men do but it's about sticking to your routine, you don't try and force it.

"Even out wide for him it's trickier but he keeps the same routine. It's something you have to keep working on."

 

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

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