Queensland's swarming defence stops Sam Bremner of the Blues in Friday night's inaugural women's State of Origin.
Queensland's swarming defence stops Sam Bremner of the Blues in Friday night's inaugural women's State of Origin. CRAIG GOLDING

I'd love to coach the Qld women again: Hetherington

RUGBY LEAGUE: Rockhampton's Jason Hetherington will put his hand up to coach the Queensland women again next year after he and his team forged a piece of rugby league history on Friday night.

The NRL veteran was at the helm for the Maroons who were beaten 16-10 in a gripping interstate clash, the first played under the State of Origin banner.

The line-up included four Central Queensland players - Emu Park's Rhiannon Revell-Blair, Blackwater's Mariah Storch and Gladstone's Chelsea Baker and Kody House.

Rockhampton's Belinda Sleeman was one of the game's touch judges.

Hetherington could not have been happier with his team's gutsy performance and the quality of football produced by both sides in the stand-alone fixture.

 

Coach Jason Hetherington:
Coach Jason Hetherington: "It was a really good showcase for women's rugby league.” Scott Davis NRL Photos/QRL Media

After witnessing Friday night's spectacle, he has no doubt women's Origin will ultimately become a three-game series.

"The game was magnificent, the atmosphere was unbelievable and it was a really good showcase for women's rugby league," he said.

"Unfortunately we didn't get the win and that's a bit of a downer but the loss really hurt the girls so that's a true indication of just what the Queensland jerseys means to them so that was the pleasing thing for me.

"The trouble is we have to wait a year to try and win it back. We've just got to keep that fire burning inside their belly for 12 months."

Hetherington played eight Origins and has been part of the Queensland men's coaching staff for more than a decade.

He said coaching the women's team had been a "learning process" for both him and the players but it was one he would gladly take on again.

"I'd love to do it again. It was a real pleasure; the girls were great to coach and the staff were outstanding," he said.

 

Chelsea Baker (left) consoles Mariah Storch after Queensland's 16-10 defeat.
Chelsea Baker (left) consoles Mariah Storch after Queensland's 16-10 defeat. CRAIG GOLDING

"It was the inaugural State of Origin for women and it was great to be a part of it.

"I think this is going to be around for a long, long time and it has been a wonderful experience."

Close to 7000 spectators packed into North Sydney Oval to watch the Maroons and Blues go head-to-head in a skilful and physical contest.

The teams scored two tries apiece to be locked at 10-all with 13 minutes to go before Blues' centre Isabelle Kelly wrapped it up in the 54th minute.

Hetherington said while it would have been great to get the win he could not be disappointed.

"I thought our courage and commitment, the passion and desire to work hard for each other was first class. I couldn't fault it.

"It was a great performance from our girls and they did everyone in Queensland proud."

BYE FOR CAPRAS

There were no games played in the Intrust Super Cup and Hastings Deering Colts competitions at the weekend due to the State of Origin and rep round bye. The CQ Capras' seniors and under-20s will be back in action on Saturday at Browne Park against Mackay.



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