NSW coach Ben Cross has revealed Blues skipper Maddie Studdon had to deal with being fired from her job in the lead-up to the Women's Holden State of Origin clash on Friday night at North Sydney Oval.
Studdon held a position as a shift-worker at the wharves in Port Botany and was given an ultimatum by her employer last week to choose her job or rugby league.
The Blues' goal-kicking halfback said the decision was an easy one to make and has no regrets after NSW beat Queensland 16-10 in the first State of Origin for women.
"I was always going to pick rugby league, especially that Origin jersey," Studdon said.
"I couldn't get the commitment off them and I was putting in my 100 per cent as well. This is my job (captain of NSW) and if that's how it's going to be I'm so proud and happy with how it turned out."
Cross said Studdon's situation typified the commitment of most women playing rugby league and that it also highlights the difficulties they often face to progress in rugby league.
"You've got to get the time off work to do it and she couldn't get the time off work," Cross said.
"That's the sacrifices these women are making to wear the Origin jersey - they're losing jobs over it."
Kelly magic breaks the deadlock
Cross said he expected nothing less than an intensely physical encounter with the Maroons, who sent multiple defenders at the home team, targeting a forward pack that was weakened by injuries.
"They had a physical side and they showed it," Cross said.
"We had to dig deep. We turned over way too much ball and Queensland's forwards through the middle, they were going three and four and five in every tackle, so we were finding it really difficult to go forward and play off the back of that. We just had to grind it out."
Cross put his side's success down to capitalising on the space they found on the edges after a two-try performance from centre Isabelle Kelly.
All three tries for the Blues were scored on the left channel, with Nakia Davis-Welsh also crossing in the corner.
"We had to find way to get a little break through our edges where we had a lot of our strengths," Cross said.
"Our forwards just really had to front-load their energy in defence because our effectiveness with our carries wasn't quite there because of how many numbers they were getting in defence.
"But I'm very pleased with everyone's effort."
In the only setback for the Blues, centre Corban McGregor suffered a dislocated shoulder in the fifth minute which had to be popped back in.
She played no further part in the match and there are concerns McGregor could require surgery. It is her second shoulder injury this year and she will undergo scans on Saturday.
Match Highlights: NSW v QLD - Women's State of Origin