Women’s Interstate Challenge - Preview
This year’s ‘Women’s Interstate Challenge’ between New South Wales and Queensland, will kick-off at 3.30pm on Saturday 19 July, at Leichhardt Oval.
This match will be the selection game for the Australian Jillaroos squad, who will play against New Zealand in November as part of the Four Nations tournament.
With Queensland having won the past 15 straight encounters, head coach Brad Donald has ensured this streak will not be their focus.
“Last year, I think the girls wanted to keep the record so we panicked a bit in the first half and didn’t play particularly well,” Donald said.
“In the second half, we got back to playing footy, so it’s important that we show composure and start much stronger.”
New South Wales head coach Mathew Head is accepting of their underdog status.
However, with the series consisting of only the one match, he believes it could be anyone’s game on the day.
“It’s a one off, so whoever gets the bounce of the ball will give themselves a good opportunity to win the game,” Head said.
“One thing I’ve learnt is that we’ll rip in. If we lose, it’s not going to be because we didn’t try.”
With both coaches showing confidence by debuting new squad members, Queensland will have the edge in experience.
Veteran halfback and captain, Karyn Murphy, will play her last game for her state, after debuting in 1999, the year Queensland began their reign.
For New South Wales, fullback, Samantha Hammond will only be playing her third Women’s Interstate Challenge game. However, she will play a key part if the Blues are to be successful.
“She (Hammond) is a threat with speed to burn,” Donald said.
Although the backs, such as Murphy and Hammond, will be the ones to spark brilliance when the game is in the balance, coach Head, believes the game will be won in the forwards.
“It’s Origin, so it’s going to come down to the forward pack and who can take their opportunities,” he said.
With Origin matches being traditionally defence-based, the New South Wales coach is focusing on shutting down Queensland attacking threats.
“We need to improve in our contact. The girls need to keep putting their body on the line and stop Queensland from putting a roll on.”
For coach Donald, although they are still in the moment of something special, he is excited to see the development of Queensland rugby league in the future, as veterans move on and new stars emerge.
“We’ve got a mixture of youth and experience with really good girls coming through the system,” Donald said.
“My main goal to come out of this game is that the new girls establish themselves in the squad as they are the future of our team.”
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