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Hilder outlines key for NSW Sky Blues Origin success

The Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues wrapped up preparations for Friday night’s 2022 Ampol Women’s State of Origin match against Queensland with coach Kylie Hilder emphasising one particular point to her players.

“Completions; it is all about completing our sets the way we want to,” she said.

“That’s what let us down last year we didn’t complete.”

NSW had just 43% possession and a 63% completion rate – finishing 20 of 32 sets in the 8-6 loss to the Maroons last June. NSW also made 15 errors to Queensland’s nine.

“I’ve been drumming it into the girls a bit this week that errors and possession are what will decide this Origin match – not who has the most experienced or fastest players,” Hilder said.

The fifth State of Origin game kicks off at Canberra’s GIO Stadium at 7.45pm on Friday.

Hilder and her assistants Ruan Sims and Kate Mullaly put the players through a few different scenarios in attack and defence during their final field session today.

“There were a couple of areas that we needed to tidy up and we worked on those during our Captain’s Run and I’m satisfied now,” Hilder said.

“We have a great team across the board and although a lot of attention has been around our outside backs, in my eyes we also have a stellar forward pack.

“During the opposed session we had during the week with the Raiders Jersey Flegg team, our girls held their own defensively with the boys really well.

“We also know Queensland have an awesome set of forwards so that’s why we need to be on our game Friday night.

“But everyone is fit and healthy – one through 17 - and we’re ready to go. We polished things off today so no excuses – let’s play.”

Sky Blues captain Kezie Apps is one of 13 survivors from the 2021 Origin team that lost by a penalty goal in the final 90 seconds of the match.

She didn’t need much prompting at the Captain’s Run today on what Friday night meant to her.

“Definitely revenge; last year’s game wasn’t how we envisaged things, especially the last couple of minutes and losing by just a couple of points,” Apps said.

“Still this year is a totally different year – new girls, new venue – so we’re really excited to put everything we’ve worked so hard at, into practice tomorrow night.”

Emma Tonegato and Rachael Pearson (St George Illawarra Dragons), Olivia Kernick (Sydney Roosters) and Caitlan Johnston (Newcastle Knights) will make their debuts for the 2022 Sky Blues.

Four players for NSW have played in every Origin since the concept began for the women’s interstate game in 2018 – Isabelle Kelly (Roosters), Simaima Taufa (Parramatta Eels), Hanna Southwell (Knights) and Apps.

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.