Queensland will host game two of the Ampol State of Origin on Sunday night after the Maroons’ first loss against the Blues earlier this month.
The Blues side has made some minor changes to their team due to injury and the Maroons were forced to make some unusual moves to ensure they win at Suncorp Stadium for a chance at winning the series.
One of the questionable moves by Queensland was benching David Fifita for the start of the game. Coach Paul Green is said to have made the call to see if the side’s defence will improve with Fifita making an impact once subbed on.
Earlier this week Fifita, 21, was fined $20,000 for breaching the league’s alcohol code of conduct and bringing the NRL under disrepute for an incident that occurred in December last year. The $1.2 million second-rower was detained on December 27 following trespassing allegations at a Gold Coast property.
Fifita believed he had been invited to the home but his actions were put down to poor judgment and no criminal action was taken against him.
Half of the fine has been suspended for 12 months and the Gold Coast Titans have been cautioned for not disclosing their payment for a security system installed into the home Fifita entered.
The Ampol Women’s State of Origin one-game clash will also take place in Queensland this Friday at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
For the first time in NRLW, NRL and Origin history the match will be officiated by an all-female on-field team.
NRL General Manager Jared Maxwell said this will be a significant step forward for women’s officiating.
“This is a fantastic result for the game and testament to the strong pathways of female officiating,” Maxwell said.
“One of our key focuses has been the creation of genuine pathways for our female officials and it has been a strong growth area for us.”
Another step forward for NRLW, both teams have female coaches with Queensland being led by the most capped Jillaroos player in history, Tahnee Norris, and NSW has the guidance of Kylie Hilder, who only retired from Origin last season at age 44.
Hilder is the first female coach for NSW since 2011 and says that more women need to be given the opportunity to coach.
“We need to get more females coaching to change the perception out there that women can’t coach, because they can,” Hilder said.
“But it doesn’t mean that every female team playing rugby league needs to be coached by a female either, it just needs to be the right person.”
Both Origin teams have the Indigenous talents of Tallisha Harden (QLD) and Quincy Dodd (NSW) who have both also represented for the Indigenous All Stars Women’s team.
The Maroons are looking to retain the shield after beating the newly named Sky-Blues last year in November with a 24-18 victory.
By Teisha Cloos