Women’s State of Origin hasn’t only changed from the Women’s Interstate Challenge, but it’s the New South Wales players who are providing the clutch moments.
Names like Maddie Studdon, Lavina O’Mealey, Sam Bremner, Nakia Davis-Welsh and Isabelle Kelly, with her two tries and player of the match, are leading the charge in NSW becoming the dominant state in women’s Origin after their 16-10 win last night at a North Sydney Oval.
They’ve now done the three-peat, which followed on from a draw in 2015.
For 16 long years, it was always Queensland and Generation X who won at the death when pushed by NSW, but the young millennials from NSW are now taking over.
Older millennials are still providing the platform up-front for the aforementioned backs and none were better than Elianna Walton and Rebecca Young in the engine room.
Both players said it was a fast, free-flowing and intense match to play in.
Young, who debuted for NSW in 2011, was upbeat after the physical match, celebrating with her kids Jarrah and Colbee.
She told The Women’s Game there was faith in the squad chosen and if everyone executed their individual jobs properly NSW would win the game.
“It was quick play the balls and we just knew we had to put our bodies on the line and come through for the win," she said.
Her front-row partner in crime, Elianna Walton, who’s also a mother, often rooms with Young when on state and test duty also mentioned how physical the game was.
“That was really, really hard, fast and exciting," Walton said.
“I think we needed to just keep grinding and that was all that needed to happen with us.
“We were calm in the sheds, Crossy (NSW coach) was pretty alright - we just need to keep pushing through (was the message) and eventually they’ll fatigue and it happened.
“So we were really happy and really lucky, yeah," she said.
Walton, who debuted for NSW in 2008 said it was amazing how far women’s rugby league had come from when she first started out.
The crowd of 6824, created a vibrant atmosphere for the players to showcase their skills on the big stage.
“It was outstanding, it was everything you ever wanted in state of origin and the crowd deserved the show and got the show," Walton said.
The only downside to the match was inaugural NSW State of Origin skipper Maddie Studdon being forced to make a choice between football and her part-time job on the wharves at Port Botany.
NSW coach Ben Cross said it was unfortunate, but until players transition to full-time professional rugby league playing careers choices will have to be made.
"You've got to get the time off work to do it and she couldn't get the time off work," he said.
"That's the sacrifices these women are making to wear the Origin jersey - they're losing jobs over it," Cross said.