Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Locals Ready for First Origin; Women Are on the Ball for Kickoff

Newspaper article The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Australia)

Locals Ready for First Origin; Women Are on the Ball for Kickoff

Article excerpt

Byline: Pam McKay

RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton's Jason Hetherington is no stranger to the Origin arena, having played eight games for the mighty Maroons and been part of the Queensland coaching staff for more than a decade.

But the seasoned campaigner admits there will definitely be some nerves when he strides onto North Sydney Oval tonight for the next exciting instalment of his rugby league career.

Hetherington is coach of the Queensland team who will contest the inaugural Holden Women's State of Origin match against New South Wales.

It is the first time the game has been played under the Origin brand, it was previously known as the Interstate Challenge.

Hetherington appreciates it is an incredible opportunity for the 17 talented players who will pull on the Maroon jersey tonight, among them Emu Park's Rhiannon Revell-Blair and Blackwater's Mariah Storch.

"I'm starting to get nervous now just thinking about it, just talking to you about it," he said.

"I will be nervous, most certainly, but there will also be nerves of excitement because it's such a big thing for these girls.

"I took them to lunch with the men's Origin side this week and they rubbed shoulders with all those lads, and I think it's really starting to hit home that this is Origin for them.

"It's going to be shown live on Channel 9 so instead of having a couple of thousand in the grandstand we'll probably have a million watching it on TV as well so it's a really significant moment for them."

The Queenslanders have been in camp for a week. Hetherington said preparations had been excellent and he expects a strong showing tonight.

"I've picked a side that's very tenacious which is the Queensland way. The girls are all very excited about wearing the Maroon jersey and I think that Queensland spirit will hold us in good stead.

"The Blues have a lot of skill and speed, especially in their back five, but I just think that being Origin it's going to come down to ticker and desire, and will and want.

"I really want the girls to embrace the moment, just savour and cherish it because in the blink of an eye the week's finished and, more importantly, the game's over. …

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