NRL world stunned by extraordinary scene as Queensland level women's State of Origin series

A record crowd turned up in Newcastle despite the horrendous conditions on Thursday night.

NRL fans and commentators were left blown away on Thursday night after a record crowd for a women's match turned out for the second State of Origin game despite 'horrendous' conditions in Newcastle. In a true sign of how far the women's game has come, a record crowd of 25,782 showed up to sit in pouring rain and watch Queensland snatch an 11-10 victory to level the series with NSW.

It marked the fourth-straight women's Origin match to feature a record crowd, after 25,492 watched Game I at Suncorp Stadium last month. For 25,000 fans to rock up in atrocious conditions is a testament to the women's game and the strides forward it has taken in recent years.

"Wonderful scenes," Commentator Peter Psaltis said on Channel 9. “What a great night for the game.”

The crowd, pictured here in Newcastle as Queensland levelled the women's State of Origin series.
A record crowd showed up in Newcastle as Queensland levelled the women's State of Origin series. Image: Getty/X

Phil Gould added: “Just have a look at the crowd - this is wonderful, “Congratulations to Newcastle. Not only selling out the ground but turning up in this weather to support the girls.

“Women’s rugby league forever on the rise but is culminating in this three-game Origin series for the first time in women’s rugby league history. Well done, Newcastle. Congratulations. Thanks for supporting the women’s game.”

Queensland and NSW in Game II of the women's State of Origin series.
Queensland beat NSW at the death in Game II of the women's State of Origin. Image: Getty
Fans in attendance during Game II of the women's State of Origin series.
Over 25,000 braved the atrocious conditions for Game II of the women's State of Origin series. Image: Getty

Psaltis said, "it’s absolutely sensational the atmosphere,” while Allana Ferguson added: “How about the crowd?” Journalist Adrian Arciuli wrote on social media: “25 thousand in horrendous conditions is a fitting crowd for a classic Origin contest – well done Newcastle and let’s hope this rates through the roof because this has been enthralling from the opening whistle!”

The Sky Blues were convincing winners in Game I and dominated for the majority of Thursday night's contest. They led 6-0 at half-time and 10-4 in the dying stages, but a brilliant solo try from Tarryn Aiken and a clutch field-goal from Lauren Brown stole the win for Queensland.

With the score locked at 10-10, star NSW prop Caitlan Johnston turned possession over in the final minutes as she carted the ball into Queensland's half. That allowed the Maroons to position themselves for a game-winning shot, and veteran utility Brown didn't miss her chance. Brown stepped up and nailed her strike from 25 metres out, keeping the series alive and sending it to Townsville for the decider.

"That was insane," Queensland coach Tahnee Norris said. "That's true Origin football. It's so good for our game to play a game of footy like that for the crowd. These girls know what it takes to be a Queenslander and win games like that. I'm so proud of them."

Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder rued her side's inability to capitalise on their chances. "The frustrating thing for me as a coach is that we were so dominant probably for the majority of the game and then we just allowed Queensland to get back on top," she said. "We didn't execute and take opportunities when we should've. That's what we'll go back and take a look at for game three."


The fact the series will head to a live decider is vindication of the decision to expand the series to three games. The first two iterations of the women's Origin series were only two games - which led to farcical scenes when Queensland retained the shield last year despite the series finishing 1-1.

"Last year was just really unfortunate how it ended," said NSW co-captain Kezie Apps. "I'm not going to lie and say that that doesn't still sting and still hurt that we lost last year's series. That's just me personally. I'm going to be doing everything that I can in these next couple of weeks to make sure that I'm prepared as best as possible and I know all the girls will as well."

with AAP