NSW seek full-house experience from Matildas

Scott Bailey |

NSW took the chance to let their new boys sample a full Accor Stadium before Wednesday’s Origin I.
NSW took the chance to let their new boys sample a full Accor Stadium before Wednesday’s Origin I.

NSW have turned to the Matildas for inspiration and experience ahead of State of Origin, offering the Blues’ five debutants a sneak peak at a sold-out Accor Stadium.

Already sharing a hotel with Australia’s women’s soccer team, NSW players were due to attend Accor Stadium on Monday night for the friendly against China.

Fandom aside, NSW officials are hopeful that will give their debutants a potential leg-up come Wednesday night.

Monday night’s Matildas match sold out almost instantly, extending their record of home game full houses to 14, dating back to last year.

The NRL hopes more than 80,000 fans will attend Wednesday night’s series opener, based on ticket sales.

That will be the biggest crowd a number of Blues have played before, including Joseph-Aukuso Suaalii, Zac Lomax, Nicho Hynes, Cameron McInnes, Haumole Olakau’atu and Hudson Young.

Action from a Matildas-China game.
The Matildas-China game on Monday night had a full house including five NSW Origin debutants. (Matt Turner/AAP PHOTOS)

“That’ll probably help the young boys,” vice-captain Isaah Yeo said. 

“It helps that you’ve seen or been in that environment. You’re not seeing anything new come Wednesday. 

“Just two days beforehand, you’ve seen it all sold out and what 80,000 looks like. 

“In that sense it helps. But as a group, it just keeps us all together as well and it’s a bit of fun together.”

NSW have an obvious link with the Matildas, given injured half Nathan Cleary’s high-profile relationship with forward Mary Fowler.

The two teams are staying in the same hotel at Sydney Olympic Park, but have not crossed paths while in the building together.

However, the Matildas did have a glimpse of the Blues’ preparations on Monday, with their lunchtime walk going past the NSW training ground.