Harvey Norman NSW Women's Origin sessions with 36 Origin hopefuls have been held over the last three months and their performances throughout the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership and now the NRLW are making it difficult for coach Andy Patmore to pick a NSW team to face Queensland in November.
Three sessions at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence have been conducted and the final session was completed last month, giving the players a chance to come together before coming into camp and playing Origin on Friday November 13 at Sunshine Coast Stadium for the first time in history.
“There are about ten new girls that have come into that squad that we hadn’t seen before,” Patmore said.
“We’ve watched them, but they were really impressive and starting to get them into the system was good.
“It was a chance to get the basics going and for the girls to get to know each other before they launched into the semis of the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership, so the timing in the end was very good and the quality of the sessions were great.”
2019 Harvey Norman NSW Women’s fullback Corban McGregor took part in the training sessions and had praise for Patmore, who successfully coached the NSW team to a resounding 14-4 victory at North Sydney Oval last year.
"Andy is a great coach and a great leader so we're really lucky to have him leading the way,” McGregor said.
"We're working on being really great at the simple things and that's been the focus of the last three pathways sessions - to play simple footy but really up tempo and smashing the basics out of the park."
There were plenty of familiar faces at the sessions, including last year’s captain Kezie Apps, Isabelle Kelly, Hannah Southwell, Jess Sergis and Tiana Penitani and McGregor believes the stakes to earn a spot in this year’s NSW squad have never been higher.
"There's a lot of nerves around everyone wanting to make that team because it's seen as such a huge honour,” McGregor said.
"It’s going to be really hard to pick the NSW team because there's so many exciting upcoming players that will make it tough for the existing representative players to retain their position.
"I think that is a great thing though, pressure makes diamonds and it's just going to keep propelling our game forward."
Many of the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership players have jumped straight into the NRLW competition, which will culminate on NRL Grand Final day on October 25, and Patmore believes this level of competition will be a suitable warm-up for Origin.
“I went to every Harvey Norman semi finals game and it’s the same girls playing good footy but there’s a few new girls and the NRLW is also good test for them at that next level,” Patmore said.
“It’s a good process for us to see them against the best girls at that level, so were excited about getting the best girls at the end.
“The quality of the Origin match is going to be great; I think Queensland will change their team so we’ve got to lift again - I’m excited.”