One of the big-game stadiums – that's the aim of the Harvey Norman NSW Women's Origin team to showcase their talents, according to new Blues coach Andrew Patmore.
The inaugural Holden Women's State of Origin between NSW and the Queensland Maroons was played at North Sydney Oval last June before a crowd of 7,000 but an estimated television audience of 750,000.
North Sydney Oval is again the venue on Friday June 21, but Patmore says the whirlpool of support around the women's game means the Origin clash is destined for a greater platform.
"Down the track we want it see it go to a bigger venue – that's the next stage for it," Patmore said.
"The buzz from the free-to-air media was enormous about the number of people watching the game.
"Some people had doubts about the women's game but after seeing it, were bitten by it, and thought it was a fantastic game of footy."
Patmore said it wouldn't take long for the women's game to stretch deeper into the rugby league psyche.
"We're still a very blokey game but that is slowly changing. Blokes I work with were certainly changed by that night," he said.
"The actual style of the game captivated people. It wasn't overly structured, so play was a bit old school – catch and pass and run hard, without all the technical things in there which can sometimes wreck a game.
"So the style was one thing, alongside the freak ability and skill level. On a wet and dewy night, I thought it was tremendous."
Patmore was assistant to former NSW Women's Origin coach Ben Cross in 2018, before the former Storm and Blues prop stepped down from the position in 2019.
As for the preparations for this year's game, Patmore has already held two training days with his Origin squad of 25 and an Emerging squad of 32. Another is planned for April 14 and May 26 where numbers could swell to around 60 players.
"The thing with the women's game is that there are girls coming through quite rapidly and they've only been playing for a couple of years," Patmore said.
"So it's just their second off-season of training with their semi-professional club. It's an opportunity to bring more into the squad. And it's not just about this year – it's about building the squad and that depth.
"The players get to be in that environment, be inspired, and see where they can go. There is still a gap between the elite girls with all their Jillaroos background, Origin camps, and how they've accelerated quickly. The others need an opportunity to catch-up."
Patmore will name his final Origin squad the week after the NSWRL National Championships May 30-June 2.
There will be at least two enforced changes from the 2018 team that beat Queensland 16-10.
Fullback Sam Bremner and one of last year’s try scorers, winger Nakia Davis-Welsh, are pregnant and although they are attending the training camps, they won't be playing.
“Having a couple of babies is something we don't get with the men’s game,” Patmore said with a smile.
Tickets became available for the June 12 match this week.
Pre-purchased tickets will remain in line with 2018 prices, at $10 for adults and those under 15 years of age, free.
The 2019 Holden Women’s State of Origin is proudly supported by naming sponsor, Holden, together with the New South Wales Government, via its tourism and major events arm, Destination NSW.