By Lars Roy at Leichhardt Oval
Queensland registered their 16th consecutive win over New South Wales on Saturday with a 26-10 victory in the annual Women’s Interstate Challenge.
From the first minute, Queensland were on the attack after re-gathering possession courtesy of a swirling kick-off.
Inspiring defence by New South Wales however, managed to shutout any hopes of Queensland achieving the perfect start.
Fullback Sam Hammond and centre Vanessa Folia featured prominently, coming up with respective try-savers of their own.
A promising, yet nervous start from both sides saw them exchange blows, however, failing to capitalise on their opportunities.
Queensland gained good yardage up the middle of the field, through props, Steph Hancock and Heather Ballinger. This allowed hooker, Brittany Breayley, plenty of options to either distribute, or run herself.
In true origin style, it took 28 minutes for the first try to be scored, with the maroons breaking the deadlock through Renae Kunst.
Fatigue proved too much for the blues when a well-rehearsed inside move saw her crash under the sticks, with Ali Brigginshaw converting.
Five minutes later, Kunst’s second row partner, Deanna Turner, was next to cross after regaining possession from a ‘six again’ call. Similar strength and determination saw her cut up the middle of tired blues defenders and plant the ball down.
With the score at 12-0 and a half-time regroup only three minutes away, Queensland shifted the ball for their third try through winger, Kellye Hodges.
Hodges showed great finishing skills while New South Wales edge defenders scrambled quickly in an attempt to stop the try.
It was New South Wales who had the last attacking opportunity of the half. However, with the siren sounding for half-time, Queensland would go to the break with a confident 16-0 lead.
The second half began in similar fashion to the start of the match. This time, it was New South Wales who managed to apply pressure on the line, with Queensland replying with resilient defence of their own.
The Maroons increased their lead nine minutes after the break through Sue Hoepper, who fooled defenders with a dummy close to the line.
With the score at 20-0, the Blues suffered another blow when Sam Hammond had to be assisted off the field after she injured her ankle making a break.
Teina Clark lifted her team though, getting the Blues on the scoreboard with a powerful run close to the line.
Maddison Studdon hit the post with the conversion from out wide, which brought the Blues back to a 16 point deficient.
Steph Hancock was rewarded for her hard work with a try in the 71st minute, with the conversion successful from Ali Brigginshaw.
It would be New South Wales to finish the scoring however, through second rower, Kezie Apps. Apps busted through Queensland forwards and around the Talia Poutini-Lawrence to score a 50-metre special.
Queensland 26 (R Kunst, D Turner, K Hodges, S Hancock, J Hoepper tries; A Brigginshaw 3 goals) def. New South Wales 10 (T Clark, K Apps tries; M Studdon goal)