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From outside backs looking to get one over their opposite number to a front row forward setting a platform, there are plenty of strong battles in Friday night's Ampol women's State of Origin clash.

Adding to the interstate clash is the carrot dangling at the end of the year, World Cup selection, meaning every player on the park will want to put in a good performance ahead of a possible spot in the Australian Jillaroos squad. 

The battle of the fullbacks Emma Tonegato and Tamika Upton will be enormous while the centre match-ups with Jess Sergis and Isabelle Kelly taking on Evania Pelite and Shenae Ciesiolka is worth the price of admission alone. 

Queensland's halves pairing of Ali Brigginshaw and Tarryn Aiken has done the job before while NSW will blood a new playmaker combination in debutant Rachael Pearson and Kirra Dibb. 

And then there's the engine room with star forwards Millie Boyle, Kezie Apps and Simaima Taufa set to line up against Queensland trio Chelsea Lenarduzzi, Tazmin Gray and Shannon Mato. 

NRL.com takes a look at the five key match-ups that will help decide the 2022 winner.

Emma Tonegato v Tamika Upton

A fullback battle to saviour and a major key for both sides and their ability to shift the ball throughout the evening.

Emma Tonegato’s return to rugby league this year has been nothing short of remarkable and on the big stage she’s bound to put in a big showing despite no match fitness since the NRLW grand final in April.

The joint Dally M winner is NSW’s biggest attacking strike weapon and alongside the likes of Jess Sergis and Isabelle Kelly, it spells danger signs for the Maroons.

Upton is a proven performer at the Origin level after two games for two wins and despite a disruptive NRLW campaign in her final season at the Broncos, she is one of Queensland’s most go-to players.

The pair could very much be touring England together at the World Cup by the end of the year but for now they’ll go head-to-head on the biggest stage in Australia to see just who is the best No.1.

Jess Sergis v Evania Pelite

Another match-up worth the price of admission alone is the battle between NSW centre Jess Sergis and Queensland debutante Evania Pelite.

Coming off an NRLW premiership win at the Roosters, the confidence levels of Sergis will be sky-high but she faces a tough test against Olympic gold medallist Pelite, who doesn't shy away from a challenge.

Sergis has been one of NSW’s best in beaten sides in the past two years and her experience in the game will have it over Pelite, who is still relatively new to the code.

The 2019 Dally M winner is a renown metre-eater at the Origin level and will help NSW get out of yardage alongside Isabelle Kelly.

There’s no doubting Pelite’s ability both on and off the ball and the Titans star has got the better of Sergis previously in an NRLW match in 2020 when the Warriors beat the Dragons. Look for their battle to continue on Friday.

Evania Pelite: 'I feel really honoured'

Rachael Pearson v Ali Brigginshaw

It’s a case of debutante against veteran but at 28, Rachael Pearson could pass as one of the more mature rookies in the women’s game. Pearson gets a shot at the Origin level for NSW after missing out last season for Maddie Studdon.

The Sky Blues desperately need a halfback to take control and that’s something Pearson proved she was capable of during her maiden NRLW campaign with St George Illawarra.

Her biggest strength is her long-range kicking game, something NSW struggled with last year. If she can get that working, the Sky Blues have enough strike in other areas to score points.

For Brigginshaw, the three-time NRLW champion and current Maroons captain has enjoyed lifting the shield for the past two years. She makes a return to the No.7 jersey as she looks to cement a spot in the Jillaroos’ World Cup squad at season’s end.

After a quiet, yet solid NRLW campaign at the Broncos earlier this year, you get the feeling this is Brigginshaw’s game to own.

With no Zahara Temara (18th player) included, the 32-year-old will do a bulk of the kicking alongside Tarryn Aiken.

Pearson's 700km drive for Rugby League

Millie Boyle v Chelsea Lenarduzzi

Two now former Broncos teammates go head-to-head in the interstate match after Boyle confirmed last month she was off to join the Newcastle Knights for the 2022 NRLW season.

Lenarduzzi has re-committed to Brisbane for another campaign and will be out to get one over her old teammate ahead of possible World Cup selection in October.

Lenarduzzi was at her offloading best during the NRLW season and was front and centre in last year’s match with 118 metres in 43 minutes.

Her final play to earn the Maroons a match-winning penalty hasn’t gone down well with many south of the border but the Queensland prop won’t be phased by that and will be looking to lead the way in the middle for another Maroons victory.

Boyle: It's special to be playing in Canberra

Sarah Togatuki v Steph Hancock

Bench impact will be enormous in Friday night’s match with both sides opting for a utility hooker/half in Quincy Dodd and Lauren Brown, along with two props and an edge player each.

The impact of Sarah Togatuki in the match will be crucial after coming off her Karyn Murphy medal win for player of the match in the NRLW grand final.

Togatuki’s second stint in the win over the Dragons swung the momentum with NSW coach Kylie Hilder resisting the urge to start Togatuki this time around, instead preparing to bring her into the game after the early stages.

In her way when she gets onto the field will be the likes of veteran Steph Hancock, who returns to the Origin arena after several false retirement calls.

Hancock's had more comebacks than John Farnham, a joke she often shares, but her form in the NRLW earlier this year cannot be underestimated with four tries in six appearances. 

The Maroons will be looking for that same impact to nullify NSW and the bench they’ve gone for.

Queensland Under 19s jersey presentation

 

Ampol Women's State of Origin kicks off this Friday at GIO Stadium. Tickets start from just $20 with kids under 15 free with a paying adult. Secure your seats at NRL.com/tickets.

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