Talk of Origin series win taboo for NSW women

Jasper Bruce |

NSW coach Kylie Hilder doesn’t want to entertain talk of making women’s State of Origin history.
NSW coach Kylie Hilder doesn’t want to entertain talk of making women’s State of Origin history.

NSW has the chance to make history and wrap up the first three-match women’s State of Origin series with a game in hand, but just don’t tell coach Kylie Hilder or her squad.

NSW are in pole position to snatch the Origin shield back from Queensland in Newcastle next Thursday, having ambushed the Maroons with a 22-12 win before a record Brisbane crowd earlier this month.

Fielding an unchanged team from game one, NSW have been installed by bookmakers as favourites.

But talk of a series win has been taboo since the Sky Blues came back into camp for Origin II on Thursday.

“We’re not speaking about wrapping up the series,” Hilder said.

“We know there’s three games, our focus is that we just want to get to Newcastle, reset this week, get into camp and focus on winning the next game.”  

Higher on Hilder’s priority list than making history is rectifying the Sky Blues’ slow start to the second half of Origin I.

NSW burst out to a 14-0 lead that looked set to increase after the break, only for the Maroons to strike back with a try to superstar fullback Tamika Upton.

“That’s a bit of a focus for us,” Hilder said.

NSW five-eighth Corban Baxter said fixating on sealing a series win would mean breaking the game-winning formula from Origin I.

“We’re a very process-driven team,” she told AAP.  

“I think that’s what worked for us in our prep for game one, we just focused on what we could do to be our best and do a bit of homework on them and try to play smart and exploit them where we can and play to our strengths. We’ll be doing the same.”  

According to second-rower Yasmin Clydsdale, player of the match in the series opener, the Sky Blues’ job wouldn’t be complete even if they won in Newcastle.

“We want to take the three games,” she said.

“We want to put our stamp on the game with the first-ever three series and we want to bring them home, all of them.”

In a bid to salvage the series in Newcastle, Queensland coach Tahnee Norris has pushed captain Ali Brigginshaw from lock to halfback at the expense of Zahara Temara, named as 18th player. 

Brigginshaw began her NRLW career as a halfback, winning the first two premierships of Brisbane’s “three-peat” with the No.7 jersey on her back in 2018 and 2019.

“I think half is her (best) position so we know that that’s going to add an extra threat to the Queensland side,” Hilder said. 

“We’re well aware of the changes that they made and we have spoken and will look at their Queensland side, but I’m always big on what we can control and what we do.”