STRONG RUNNER: NSW’s Kezie Apps in action for the Jillaroos.
STRONG RUNNER: NSW’s Kezie Apps in action for the Jillaroos. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Women set to battle for their own Origin glory

RUGBY LEAGUE: The best and most entertaining game of league this weekend may not come from the NRL.

It may instead be provided by the New South Wales and Queensland women’s teams playing their own annual interstate clash at CBus Super Stadium today, with the Blues looking to create history with their first win in 18 years.

Last year’s clash in Townsville was an epic and highly entertaining 4-4 draw, which featured some brutal defence from both sides.

Today’s game should be no different with NSW confident of finally breaking through after an excellent build-up.

Queensland captain Steph Hancock, the daughter of former Queensland Origin forward Rohan Hancock, has played the ultimate card to motivate her players, declaring she will hang up the boots if the Maroons hand over the Nellie Doherty Cup.

The tough-as-teak Hancock told media: “If I have to feel that experience, what it’s like to be beaten by NSW in my lifetime, I’ll give it away. I won’t be able to handle it.

“The draw didn’t mean crap to us. Obviously we wanted to win properly, not just retain the cup because it was a draw.

“The gap has definitely closed and I think this year, if anything, their side has probably got the same amount of experience as what we do and they’ve probably got a few key players that we don’t really have this year.”

Both sides have a healthy representation of Jillaroos, although Queensland will miss the contribution from last year’s Dally M Female Player of the Year Jenni-Sue Hoepper.

On the flipside, it will be bolstered by the return of classy five-eighth and playmaker Ali Brigginshaw, who suffered a terrible leg injury during last year’s clash.

NSW last year produced a power game that required one of Queensland’s best ever defensive efforts to hold them out in the final 30 minutes.

Bega-born Kezie Apps says she and her teammates are prepared to bleed blue to crack Queensland’s grip on the interstate shield.

A fierce competitor and aggressive defender rated by her coach, former Melbourne Storm premiership player Ben Cross, as one of the best in the game, Apps loves the physical side of the game and is a great line runner who will take some stopping.

“We play because we love it. A lot of the girls have to make sacrifices, we take time off work and some have to juggle their kids as well, so when we come into camp it makes it more special,” Apps said.

“We want to end Queensland’s streak.”

WAYNE HEMING


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