Maroons name five debutants for women's Origin opener
Five debutants have been named in the Queensland Maroons side for this year's women's State of Origin series opener as coach Tahnee Norris rewards players in strong form.
Utility Romy Teitzel, hooker Emma Manzelmann, wingers Sophie Holyman and China Polata and forward Keilee Joseph are the new faces in the 18-woman squad to play NSW on June 1 at Commbank Stadium in Sydney.
The grand final of Queensland's state league competition, known as the BMD Premiership, was held on Saturday with Burleigh Bears beating Wynnum Manly Seagulls 24-10.
Six players from that clash have been named in the squad of 18.
"The BMD (Premiership) has been fantastic for us and there has been some really good football played this season
"We are seeing the likes of Zahara Temara play some fantastic footy and work her way back into the side.
"We have picked players that are in form. It has made it easier to pick a side that is physically ready to go."
Norris said she was excited for the debutants.
"Romy Teitzel is a Townsville girl and has been so close the last couple of years so I am really looking forward to her taking the field," Norris said.
"Emma Manzelmann is a fantastic player and still only 21 with a long career ahead of her.
"Sophie Holyman has played well for the Burleigh Bears throughout this season and is really fresh in rugby league after play rugby sevens before, but she is a strong, fit player.
"China Polata has been part of our pathways system for quite some time and started the Mackay Cutters season making 200 metres per game and has been absolutely phenomenal.
"Last but not least is Keilee Joseph who was in the Jillaroos setup last year and is part of our pathways after captaining the Queensland under 19s."
Queensland and NSW will play a two-match series for the first time.
The NRL is still working out how the series will be decided if it is locked at 1-all at the end of the two games.
NSW won last year's one-game series but Norris said she would be open to an extra-time scenario if there was a deadlock.
"I would love to see something like that," she said.
"Relying on the (winner from) the previous year is a bit hit and miss. We deserve to have an outcome."
Norris said the fans and players deserved a three-match series in future.
Veteran Ali Brigginshaw will captain the side.
"She is born-and-bred Queensland, an Ipswich girl through and through," Norris said.
"Ali thrives on playing Origin and is one of our deadset Origin greats. She loves this time of year and brings her best footy."
Queensland Maroons: Tarryn Aiken, Emily Bass, Ali Brigginshaw ©, Destiny Brill, Shenae Ciesiolka, Jessika Elliston, Tazmin Gray, Sophie Holyman, Keilee Joseph, Emma Manzelmann, Shannon Mato, Evania Pelite, China Polata, Shaniah Power, Julia Robinson, Romy Teitzel, Zahara Temara, Tamika Upton.