You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Sky Blues go down fighting in Women's Origin I

The Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues have gone down fighting 18-10 in Game One of the Ampol Women’s State of Origin series but are still a hope of retaining the Shield with Game Two to be held in Townsville on 22 June.

The Sky Blues never gave up hope but finished on the wrong end of the possession count (45 per cent), and only completed at 60 per cent to make life hard for themselves.

Their case wasn’t helped after co-captain Isabelle Kelly was taken to hospital after copping a forearm to the throat late in the first half which proved to be a pivotal moment with the Maroons going on to score to take a 10-6 lead while the Sky Blues were reduced to 12 players.

“She’s in hospital, she’s not great and there are concerns around her throat,” Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder said.

“it’s a big concern for me when we’ve got a player on the ground in discomfort and not in a great way and she was struggling to breathe.

“I am very concerned about her now and I still don’t understand why there wasn’t even a penalty for that when she was hit in the throat.”

The Ampol Women’s State of Origin moved to a two-game series this year which will be decided on aggregate if both teams finish at 1-all. Effectively that means the Sky Blues will have to win by nine points in Townsville, and Hilder was confident they could improve.

“I honestly don’t think we could play as bad as we did tonight,” Hilder said. “We’ve got the talent there and I think just the execution (was bad) and too many dropped balls and too many penalties.

“We have two games so that is a bonus, and we know now that we have to win by nine (points). It probably puts a lot more pressure and you can see from that last 10 minutes (when we were) chasing points that’s obviously when we made more mistakes.

“We’ve got a big task ahead of us. We just need to win the game and not worry about chasing points because if we do, we’ll end up like we did tonight.”

The Sky Blues were starved of the ball for the opening 10 minutes of the match and were forced to dig deep in defence. Although the Maroons enjoyed 80 per cent possession, they were only able to walk away with one try after fullback Tamika Upton put winger Julia Robinson over in the corner. Halfback Zahara Temara missed the conversion to leave the visitors with a 4-0 lead.

The Sky Blues eventually settled into a rhythm and they looked like they had pegged one back when halfback Rachael Pearson kicked for the corner and Jess Sergis grabbed the ball only to be pulled down short of the line.

The pair combined again a short time later and this time the Maroons goal line defence proved no match as Pearson dropped Sergis back inside and the NSW winger bustled and spun her way past five defenders to plant the ball over the line. Debutant five-eighth Jesse Southwell landed the conversion to put NSW in front 6-4.

The momentum swung in favour of the Maroons late in the first half after the incident involving Kelly. The Sky Blues co-captain stayed down on the ground after receiving a forearm to the throat with players from both teams showing immediate concern. She was assisted from the field and taken to hospital as a precaution.

With the Sky Blues down to 12 players, the Maroons worked their way down field and scored after five-eighth Tarryn Aiken put back-rower Tazmin Gray over just before half-time. Temara landed the conversion for the Maroons to take a 10-6 lead.

The Sky Blues started the second half strongly until Maroons centre Shenae Ciesiolka picked off a Southwell pass and set sail upfield. Chapman came up with one of the plays of the night when she chased after her and pulled her down 20 metres out to save a certain try but unfortunately the damage was done. The Maroons shifted the ball left on the next play to score through winger Emily Bass. Temara missed the sideline conversion, but the Maroons had some breathing space at 14-6.

Queensland extended the margin a little further when Ciesiolka put Robinson over for her second try of the game, but the Blues pegged one back off a scrum set play when Southwell and fullback Emma Tonegato combined to put Chapman over out wide. Southwell missed the conversion, but the Blues had reduced the margin to 18-10.

Unfortunately, as they pushed for points in the final 20 minutes they came up with several mistakes which proved to be costly.

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.

Platinum Partner

Major Partners

View All Partners