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The One Word Which Drove the NSW Women's Win

Weary-legged and their lungs burning as time ticked away, the NSW Women weren't asked to defend their goal line. They were told to.

A resilient Queensland side – down by six points – threw caution to the wind in trying to arrest the Blues' hold in not only the inaugural Womens State of Origin match, but also on that of a run of interstate dominance dating back to 2016.

With five minutes remaining at North Sydney Oval, the 13 NSW pioneers let one word reverberate around the historic grandstands.

A simple word chosen to inspire the collective in their time of need.

The side's leadership group – minus the injured, long-time captain Ruan Sims – had met the day prior. The core group sat as one, given the responsibility to find a mantra to empower their NSW Womens teammates to a third-straight win over the Maroons.

"We talked about sharing our stories and letting our vulnerabilities be known... I told them my story, and they all got a bit emotional," NSW Women's veteran Lavina Phillips tells

"They came up with the call, and when we were down – when we were feeling like our backs were against the wall – we felt like we needed a word to help us rise to the occasion.

What a way to go out – it was one of the best nights of my life.

Lavina Phillps Harvey Norman NSW Womens Five-Eighth

"They chose 'Redfern'... it's from where I'm from, it's from my struggle... I made sure I left everything out on the field for those girls."


Phillips – and the NSW leadership group – challenged their teammates to 'Rise' to the occasion.

To play with 'Energy'.

To show a 'Determination' to succeed.

To be 'Fearless' in the moments that mattered most.

To turn up, 'Effort on effort', and to 'empower.'

To be 'Ruthless' – not giving an inch.

And to 'Never back down.'

In her first – and final Women's Origin – the retiring Phillips' off-field struggles uplifted the NSW Women to their grandest triumph.

That's something she'll never forget.

"It was awesome, these girls, they were awesome in camp... they really supported me in my decision [to retire] ... they said it was sad to see me go," Phillips says.

"What a way to go out – it was one of the best nights of my life."

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.