Harvey Norman Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder has used today’s announcement of Ampol State of Origin’s 2022 location to remind players hoping to don the coveted NSW jersey this year.
The NRL announced today that Canberra’s GIO Stadium will host the fifth Women’s State of Origin Stadium on Friday, June 24, the first time it will be held in the ACT. The win-loss book with the Queensland Maroons is currently at 2-2.
Formerly known as the annual Interstate Challenge, Origin status came in 2018 with the Sky Blues winning the shield at North Sydney Oval that year and again in 2019. Queensland took consecutive wins at the Sunshine Coast Stadium in 2020 and 2021.
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With the NRLW season now in full swing, Hilder said players needed to know that current form was crucial to securing a spot on the Origin squad.
“The NRLW has been a great platform to look at players for selection, and then we will select a first squad of 25,” she said.
“We will then start working with that squad while looking at other players once the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership starts in April.
“Right now it’s a blank canvas – all positions are open.
“We now have two defeats so everyone should know that. They all need to play good football to represent NSW this year because past appearances are just that – in the past.”
Hilder had called for the match to return across the border and welcomed the decision to host Canberra for the first time.
“We hope our supporters will now come from Sydney and other NSW regions as we know the Queenslanders will be traveling,” she said.
“We have Canberra in our NSWRL Harvey Norman Tarsha Gale (U19s) competition and they are hoping to compete in the HN Women’s competition. This has been discussed in recent years.
“So we understand why the game is being held there. It’s a growth area for Rugby League. And while it’s not NSW, we have a huge Blues following there.”
The fact that GIO Stadium has a capacity of 25,000, compared to 10,000 at North Sydney Oval and 12,000 at Sunshine Coast, further reinforces the broad and growing appeal of the women’s game.
The Canberra Regional Rugby League (CRRL) is made up of 35 Rugby League clubs from Cootamundra in the northwest, through Canberra to Cooma in the south, with towns such as Goulburn and Crookwell.
Female registrations have risen across the NSWRL and the Canberra region is no different.
In 2018, 743 junior/senior women were registered. The figure in 2021 was 1,150 with an expected increase in 2022 if the final figures are counted.
Another highlight of the Ampol State of Origin game is the Nellie Doherty Medal for Player of the Match.
The list of Origin competition results and past medal winners:
2018: NSW 16 final QLD 10 – Isabelle Kelly (NSW)
2019: NSW 14 final QLD 4 – Maddie Studdon (NSW)
2020: QLD 24 final NSW 18 – Tarryn Aiken (QLD)
2021: QLD 8 final NSW 6 – Tazmin Gray (QLD)