CQ league legend has Qld women primed for Origin
RUGBY LEAGUE: Jason Hetherington knows his players will show "plenty of pride in that Queensland jersey” when they take the field for this week's highly anticipated women's State of Origin.
Baralaba-born Hetherington, who played eight games for the Maroons, is at the helm of the Queensland women's team for the second year.
He and his players are keen to avenge last year's 16-10 loss in the hard-fought interstate clash, the first played under the State of Origin banner.
Central Queensland's Elle Stitt, who plays with the Dysart Bulls, was included as the squad's 18th player after impressing at the recent national championships.
She was one of four new faces named in the 18-player squad for the game, which kicks off at 7.45pm on Friday at North Sydney Oval.
Hetherington said yesterday from the team's training base on the Gold Coast that the feeling in the Queensland camp was "great”.
"We've had a good preparation so far. We've got all the formalities out of the way now so we can really bunker down and start focusing on the footy side of it,” he said.
"We've had a good couple of sessions.
"The girls are all excited and in good spirits.”
Hetherington said Queensland boasted some dynamic halves and hard-working and powerful forwards.
"We've got a really good spine. Our 9, 6, 7 and 1 have all represented Australia.
"We're very strong there with a really tough forward pack.”
Hetherington said it was a great opportunity for Stitt to be involved, and her inclusion was made with a view to the future.
He was impressed with the energy, commitment and desire she showed at the nationals.
"I thought she really put her best foot forward there,” Hetherington said.
"At this stage she's come in as our 18th person. She's been getting a taste of it all to see what it's about and how it all runs and she's getting a good education on the Queensland way.
"Elle's here for a reason and we're planning for the future as well.
"She's pretty versatile, she can cover most positions.”
Hetherington said last year's disappointing loss would help fuel his players.
"To see the hurt in them (last year) showed me that it does mean a hell of a lot to them, the Queensland jersey.
"A big part of this camp is installing that in them - what it means to them and their family, what it means to their team and what it means to the state.
"We've got to be well prepared and know that when we got out there we've put ourselves in the best position to win.
"One thing I am confident about is that the girls will really show a lot of pride in that Queensland jersey.”