Kimmorley a secret weapon for NSW ahead of Origin II

Jasper Bruce |

Wests Tigers NRLW coach Brett Kimmorley has been helping NSW prior to the women’s second Origin.
Wests Tigers NRLW coach Brett Kimmorley has been helping NSW prior to the women’s second Origin.

Words of wisdom from NSW legend Brett Kimmorley may well prove the Sky Blues’ secret weapon as they look to close out the women’s State of Origin series in Newcastle.

NSW coach Kylie Hilder already had assistant coach Ruan Sims on side to drill the forwards for the inaugural three-match series, but approached Kimmorley to work with her halves when she began making plans to snatch the shield back from Queensland in 2024.

Kimmorley has since had a regular presence in the NSW camp – first in the seven-week block that preceded the Sky Blues’ game-one victory, and then in the lead-up to Thursday night’s Origin II.

It looks a shrewd call on Hilder’s part to have chosen Kimmorley.

The 47-year-old boasts a rare combination of Origin success – he was halfback for the entire 2000 men’s series, the last time NSW recorded a clean sweep over Queensland – and has NRLW coaching experience in charge of Wests Tigers.

Brett Kimmorley.
Brett Kimmorley played 10 times for NSW in State of Origin between 2000-2010. (Tracey Nearmy/AAP PHOTOS)

At Sky Blues training this year, Kimmorley has been adviser and confidante for new halves combination Rachael Pearson and Corban Baxter, while also working with the NSW back five on kick defusal.

On more than one occasion, the 1999 premiership winner has laced up the kicking boots himself.

“It’s been invaluable having Brett here,” five-eighth Baxter told AAP.

“Just getting a few little tips around the smarts of kicking and a little game plan around a kicking game was really invaluable, and his mindset around transitioning in different positions on the field and really opening my mind to different options that we can take.

“It’s little one percenters that have helped me tighten up my game as a five-eighth.”

Kimmorley has also addressed the squad as a whole during his time in camp.

“He was very clear, concise and he worked a lot with us in our trial games,” hooker Olivia Higgins told AAP.

“He’d stand at the back and tell us what we needed to do better. He was pretty straightforward, he told us what we needed to hear but he was also very wise.

“It’s so cool to have someone like him around the girls who offers their time to help us be better.”

Ali Brigginshaw.
Ali Brigginshaw takes on the NSW line during game one of the 2024 series. (Dave Hunt/AAP PHOTOS)

The Sky Blues are wary of the threat posed by Queensland halfback Ali Brigginshaw, who has shifted from lock with the series on the line.

Brigginshaw has played a linking role in the middle of the park during her last three Origin appearances but the Brisbane star will return to the position in which she won the 2018 and 2019 NRLW premierships.

“She has so much experience,” Baxter said of her rival.

“She’s played so many big games and is a player who effortlessly has a lot of time with the ball and seems to be able to take on the line.”