No second thoughts on three-game Origin for Sky Blues

Jasper Bruce |

NSW insist they are happy the women’s State of Origin series is progressing to a decider, even if under the old system they would already have snatched the shield from Queensland.

The winner of Thursday night’s clash in Townsville will clinch the historic first three-match women’s series after Queensland ambushed the Sky Blues to square the ledger in game two.

Only a Lauren Brown field goal separated the sides in the 11-10 thriller, which followed NSW’s 22-12 game-one victory in May.

Had the series not been expanded from two games this year, NSW would have already won back the Origin shield, given their margin of victory was greater than Queensland’s.

Last year, NSW tied the two-game series 1-1 by winning game two in Townsville, but their margin of victory was not great enough to overtake Queensland on points aggregate.

The Sky Blues won the final battle, but were forced to watch on as the Maroons lifted the Origin shield.

“It was a good day out, but there were also bittersweet moments, not being able to lift the trophy,” NSW winger Tiana Penitani recalled to AAP.

The two-game series had been wildly unpopular among players, who had long been campaigning for parity with their male counterparts, who have been competing in a three-game series since 1982.

The Sky Blues are firm in that stance, even if winning in a two-game series would have meant exacting revenge for losing the shield in the same manner last year.

“We don’t want the shield on a points differential. We want a genuine 2-1 or a 3-0,” Penitani said.

“That’s the way State of Origin is, that’s the brand of (men’s) State of Origin, and it should be no different for us. 

“I know that over the years there’s been cheeky little comments about giving us a three-game series. 

“It’s not a legitimate win if you only beat us once. Now we’re here, it’s exciting and it’s genuine.”

Sky Blues co-captain Kezie Apps believed it would be a hollow feeling to win a series the way Queensland did in 2023.

Kezie Apps (centre).
Kezie Apps (centre) is delighted women’s State of Origin series is a best-of-three series. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

“If we won still on the two games, it still would’ve been a s*** feeling because it would’ve still been 1-1,” she told AAP.

“I’m so happy we’ve got that third game and it is so fitting that it is 1-1 now. It’s going to make it worth having the third game for that decider. 

“It’s going to be an epic game and I just can’t wait for it to all happen.”

The gravity of etching their team’s name on the shield as the first winners of a three-match series has not been lost on the players.

“There’s a little bit of history there, first series, back in NSW,” halfback Rachael Pearson told AAP.

“It’d be really special.

“As players, as fans, I think everyone wants a three-game series.”