Women's Origin: Maroons ready for wrestle
Queensland promise they'll be ready to counter wrestling tactics from NSW in Friday night's Women's State of Origin clash.
While they secured an 8-6 win last year, Maroons captain Ali Brigginshaw says the Blues' slow play-the-ball tactics impacted their attack and they must deal with it much better in order to retain the shield in Canberra.
"That's one way they think they can get under our skin is in the wrestle, so no doubt they've been working on that," Brigginshaw told reporters on Thursday.
"We've adjusted to that. We can be so much better in that space about getting up and playing the ball, but I expect them to still be working on that.
"(The men) play week in, week out and it takes a lot of fitness to be able ... to do all that ... the more footy we play, the better we get at the wrestle."
Maroons' coach Tahnee Norris implored her side to keep their composure and not look to the referee for help should wrestling persist, as they found last year.
"Especially in the first half, there was a lot of frustration around the stuff that was going on the ground," Norris told reporters.
"We've just got to be smarter about ... we can't do anything about the refereeing or can't do anything about what they're doing on top of us.
"But we've just got to work ourselves out and get ourselves out of the tackle as fast as you can."
Queensland have two debutants in Emily Bass and Evania Pelite, but Norris said slotting them into the side had been seamless.
The Blues have four debutants including two spine members - fullback Emma Tonegato and halfback Rachael Pearson.
"They've all combined really well and really fast, they're all professional athletes these girls now so it doesn't take long for it to all come together," NSW coach Kylie Hilder said.
"It's right across the park, we've got a great forward pack, great outside backs.
"If everyone just does the job, and that's a big thing we've been really emphasising all week ... then we'll come together as a team."
NSW captain Kezie Apps, who leads a star-studded forward back including Millie Boyle, Simaima Taufa and Hannah Southwell, said her unit would be pivotal in regaining the shield for the first time since 2019.
"Every game is won in the middle, we all know that," she said.
"It's definitely going to be a big physical battle, and hopefully
we can take opportunities off the back of that."
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