Why Queensland will win Women's State of Origin

Queensland's Tamika Upton takes on the Blues defence during the 2022 Women's State of Origin. Mark Nolan/Getty Images

New South Wales are the current Women's State of Origin champions.

It took until the final three minutes of the 2022 fixture for the result to be decided; with Isabelle Kelly scoring a try to secure the win for the Blues.

But the 2023 series is upon us and we're playing by a new set of rules.

For the first time in the history of the fixture, since it was rebranded to State of Origin, the series will consist of two games. Should there be a draw, the winner will be decided by points aggregate.

This method will ensure that regardless of the opening result, Game II of the series will matter.

But Tahnee Norris and her Queensland Maroons have their sights set on winning both games with a selection strategy that takes them back to 2021 when they last won the series.

Tamika Upton, Destiny Brill, Zahara Temara and Tarryn Aitken all feature in Norris's squad, with Ali Brigginshaw switching back to lock to accommodate Temara. Not only did this combination win in 2021, but all but Brill were present in 2020 when the Maroons won too.

There are also several notable omissions from the Queensland side including Stephanie Hancock, Tallisha Harden, Chelsea Lenarduzzi and Brittany Breayley-Nati.

Instead Norris has opted for a new look forward pack featuring Shaniah Power and Keilee Joseph to try and temper the experienced New South Wales forward pack consisting of Millie Boyle, Kezie Apps and Yasmin Clydesdale.

These changes seem to have had a positive impact on the squad with Queensland winger Julia Robinson referring to the positive vibes in camp.

"Camp has been incredible; it just feels good," said Robinson.

"I don't know what's going on but there are good vibes everywhere.

"We also have some debutants and some players returning after missing the series last year, like Zahara Temara who was in awesome form for the Roosters in the NRLW last year and also for the Burleigh Bears earlier this year."

Brill is also thrilled to welcome debutant Joseph into the squad.

"I went to school with Keilee so I am super excited to be playing State of Origin with her," said Brill.

"I can't wait to be playing through that middle ruck with her."

Apart from the changes made to the squad, Robinson is confident the Maroons have the edge, because Origin just hits differently in Queensland.

"We have more heart and I feel like putting that Queensland jersey on just means more," said Robinson.

"I'm not saying it doesn't mean anything to New South Wales but when you put that maroon jersey on you just want to play for each other, play for the state and get that win.

"I've played in the Jillaroos jersey, but I still get shivers thinking about the Origin game last year; it was one of the hardest games I have ever played because you are competing against the best of the best."

This sentiment is one echoed by Brill.

"I feel really honoured and really proud to wear that Queensland jersey," said Brill.

"I'm humbled to get to play another year and I think we are going to win because on the field we are always there for each other and we are going to work for each other on the field and off it."

What's not in doubt is that Thursday night will be a close contest.

Since 2018, on average, only six points has divided the two teams, with the biggest margin being a 10-point win to the Blues in 2019.

For each player on that field, it will be the toughest game that they play all year and that rings true for players that have competed at an Olympic level or represented their country in rugby league or another sport.

"Compared to every other game, the energy is higher and it is so much more intense," said Brill.

"I love that about the State of Origin game."

Even for Robinson who is widely regarded as one of the fittest female rugby league players, the pace of State of Origin is one of the most challenging aspects.

"It's like going to war," said Robinson.

"Your heart just pumps all the way through the game. It is the pinnacle of women's rugby league at the moment."