Maroons finally snap Blues Origin stranglehold
After four years of misery, Queensland have finally claimed the women's State of Origin.
In front of a vocal, sold-out crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium, the Maroons pulled off a second-half surge to defeat NSW 24-18.
There was nothing haunting about this Friday the 13th performance.
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It was brutal. It was fast. And it was exciting.
The women held nothing back in what was Queensland's highest score and first win under the new women's State of Origin banner.
The Blues had won the previous two women Origin clashes, and the past four interstate clashes, but a fresh-faced Queensland side filled with seven debutants secured a courageous victory.
Maroons coach Jason Hetherington credited two of his rookies - Tamika Upton and Tarryn Aiken - for their victory.
"They were great and that moment (when they combined to score), that's an Origin moment," Hetherington said.
"Tamika and Tarryn were outstanding.
"Individually, there was brilliance there. They were quite spectacular.
"Three tries between them is a big ask in Origin.
"There's a long career (with Queensland) for them."
Meanwhile, Blues coach Andy Patmore was left to rue his side's ability to shutdown the Maroons duo.
"Queensland just played winning footy," Patmore said.
"I spoke during the week about Tamika and Tarryn.
"As soon as you nod off, they tear us apart."
The Maroons scored three unanswered tries in the space of 14 minutes just after the break to all-but seal the game.
The Blues hit back late with three unconverted tries of their own but it wasn't enough to steal the win away from the Maroons.
ON THE UPTON
Tamika Upton is a special kind of player.
The leading NRLW tryscorer caused havoc to the opposition defensive line and secured her place as Queensland's No.1 for years to come.
The Yeppoon Seagulls product scored an incredible individual 80-metre try on debut to post first points of the match.
She backed it up in the second half with a second four-pointer, set up by fellow debutant Tarryn Aiken who pierced through the Blues defensive line.
Aiken was incredible herself, scoring a four-pointer on debut as well.
Kezie Apps was inspirational in the Blues jersey.
She had overcome a medial cruciate ligament injury in her right knee suffered during the NRLW season to play in the Origin encounter.
And she proved instrumental.
With her right knee heavily strapped, she managed to score a try and threatened the defence with every touch of the ball.
DALLY (M) BRIGGINSHAW
She's the best female player in the game for a reason.
Ali Brigginshaw was playing out of position in the No.13 jersey but she was still as influential in both defence and attack.
Her effort was epitomised just two minutes before halftime when she rushed up in defence to force a knock on.
There's a reason why the Maroons wanted to play in front of a home crowd.
Despite a smattering of blue around the sold-out Sunshine Coast Stadium, the "Queenslander" chant erupted on several occasions to spur on the Maroons players.
It was the first game on home soil for the Maroons under the new women's State of Origin banner and the first since the 2015 Interstate Challenge.
And it had an air of all things Queensland leading up to the match - from a 26C day to a passing afternoon thunderstorm just moments from kick-off.
The wet surface made ball handling a worry during much of the game, with 22 errors from both sides by the end of the match.
Originally published as Maroons finally snap Blues Origin stranglehold