The first game of the Women’s State of Origin series saw the NSW Sky Blues suffer an 18-10 loss against the Queensland Maroons due to many errors. Co-captain Isabelle Kelly was taken to the hospital with a larynx injury after she received a forearm blow from Julia Robinson. Despite the Sky Blues hitting hard from the start, early errors and poor discipline allowed the Maroons to put up points first and put the home team on the back foot.
Queensland were first to score after captain Ali Brigginshaw passed the ball to Tamika Upton from dummy-half. Upton found Julia Robinson with a floating pass to score on the wing. However, the injection of co-captain Kezie Apps turned the match around for NSW. Apps relentlessly attacked the Maroons line and brought NSW within 10 metres of the try line. An excellent pass out the back from Rachael Pearson led to Jessica Sergis scoring the first points for the Blues.
NSW’s loss of Isabelle Kelly proved costly for them as Queensland targeted the Sky Blues’ left defensive edge in her absence. The visiting Maroons went to halftime ahead 10-6 and were quick to strike in the second period. Queensland moved the ball out to the wings to score after an intercept from Shenae Ciesiolka, which was ultimately chased down by debutante Jaime Chapman who tackled Ciesiolka 20 metres short of the try line.
The Sky Blues struggled to maintain their defence early in the second half, and it appeared as though the electrifying Queensland team would sail to victory. Fortunately, NSW got a set just outside the Maroons‘ 10-metre line, and Jesse Southwell made a master stroke, throwing a little dummy out to the left to offload to Emma Tonegato, who then flicked it across to Chapman on the wing to score. With that, NSW re-entered the game and started to threaten the Maroons with a series of commanding sets.
Error after error from both teams made it feel as though the ball spent more time on the court than in players’ hands. However, in the end, Queensland was better capable of executing their attacking plays, achieving victory in Parramatta in front of a record crowd of 12,972. Despite Southwell going down for the Blues late in the game, there was still hope for the home side. Regrettably, more errors squandered any chances of NSW regaining the lead. Game two is scheduled to take place in Townsville on June 22.