It was a heartbreaking loss for Queensland in the inaugural Women's State of Origin but captain Karina Brown couldn't be prouder of her team.
It was a history-making night at Norty Syndey Oval with over 6,000 fans in attendance as the Blues ran out 16-10 winners against the Maroons. It was another tough loss for Queensland as NSW retained bragging rights for a third consecutive year.
"What a game we put on tonight, you guys were fantastic, you dug deep and you pushed us," an emotion Brown told the Blues.
"You've lifted the standard the last few years, it's made Queensland work harder.
"To my Queensland girls, I'm so bloody proud of you.
"I can not fault that effort, we fought and we fought, we lost in the end but that's okay because we will get stronger from this.
"I'm just so proud to call myself a Queenslander," she said.
Congratulations Karina Brown @Karina_browny on becoming the first-ever scorer for Queensland in a Women's State of Origin encounter.#QLDER #Origin #RugbyLeague #OurWay @AusJillaroos pic.twitter.com/Qupz932S7Y— Queensland Maroons (@QLDmaroons) June 22, 2018
Queensland had six debutants last night including 23-year-old Meg Ward. She had already made her representative debut for Australia playing with the Jillaroos three months after taking up rugby league.
"What an Origin to debut with, the girls were amazing and they never gave up," she said.
"We had a tough job with the left side NSW had, they have a strong attacking side, and we knew that coming in but we were ready for it.
"Unfortunately, they ended up getting the upper hand this year but bring on next year," Ward said.
This first picture sums up the heartbreak of last nights loss to a very strong NSW side but what an incredible night for women’s rugby league (and yes I know I’m an ugly crier haha). So grateful to have been given the opportunity to wear the Maroon Jersey along side an amazing bunch of girls and what a fight you all put up. To the coaching staff, QRL, FOGS and everyone thank you for all the support and mentoring this week. I have learnt so much and I’m looking forward to witnessing and hopefully being a part of starting something big in QLD in the years to come. • • To everyone that got behind the game whether it was coming along or switching on your TV’s, thank you. I hope the match exceeded expectations and we can continue to grow this amazing game with all your continued support. I am working on getting back to all the lovely messages I have received so if I haven’t replied I’m sorry but I truly am grateful for all the support and love leading up to and during this journey. • • Last but not least to my amazing family and friends that travelled from near and far to get to the game or switched on there TV’s, thank you, thank you, thank you. Much love to you all. Now to recover and begin the next adventure with my Brisbane Broncos family 🙌 • • @wrugbyleague @nrl @qldmaroons @qld_fogs #samegame #ourway #womeninleague #love #rugbyleague #fogs #maroon #queenslander
There was some criticism drawn to the fact the women were playing a 60 minute match with 30 minute halves instead of the men's game where they play 80 minute games with 40 minute halves.
However, Ward says it is quality over quantity at this stage and the show that was put on last night showed exactly that.
"We don't get the opportunity to train every day like the men do, we have to work so I think keep it at 60," she said.
"It was a fast game but it was a good game, we can build from that and who knows next year might become a three game series like the men," Ward said.