NSW captain's major sacrifice for NRL career

Steve Zemek
NSW captain's major sacrifice for NRL career

NSW skipper Maddie Studdon has revealed she lost her job just days before leading the Blues to a 16-10 victory over Queensland in the inaugural Women's State of Origin.

Studdon was smiling from ear to ear after guiding her side to victory at North Sydney Oval on Friday night despite her personal hardship.

The Blues halfback was sacked from her job as a truck driver at Port Botany container terminal because she was taking too much time off to meet her football commitments.

She was given an ultimatum by her bosses - commit fulltime or be sacked.

And she said she had no regrets after leading her side to an historic win in front of 6824 fans.

"It was quite easy, I was always going to pick rugby league, that Blues jersey," Studdon said.

"This is my jersey, that's how it's going to be and I'm proud and I'm happy how it came out."

Studdon's sacrifice paid off. Pic: Getty

Both sides hailed the first women's Origin fixture as a rousing success and a big step in the growth of the women's game.

An Isabelle Kelly double proved the difference as the injury-hit Blues held off the Maroons.

The Blues were resilient after losing centre Corban McGregor (dislocatged shoulder) and hooker Rebecca Riley (back) in the first half.

The Maroons looked like they were starting to get on top when winger Karina Brown got the first of her two tries to make it 6-all at the break.

However the Blues were the better side in the second half, crossing for two tries to one.

NSW's left side was crucial in the victory, racking up all three of their four-pointers including Kelly's opener.

After Queensland looked to be getting on top, pocket rocket Nakia Davis-Welsh took advantage of a massive overlap to give the Blues a 10-6 advantage seven minutes after the resumption.

Two Isabelle Kelly tries have helped NSW to a 16-10 State of Origin win over Queensland

Queensland levelled things up when halfback Ali Brigginshaw, who had looked ominous all night, took it to the line and sent Brown over for her second.

However it was the Blues who found something extra.

After Brigginshaw charged down the ball in her own end, the Blues regained possession and Kelly found space on the left edge for the match-winner.

"Our defence was great, we got caught on the edges a couple of times," Queensland coach Jason Hetherington said.

"There were a couple of times there where I thought we could have really struggled but they got into the arm-wrestle and they got on top in certain periods.

"I'm disappointed we didn't get the win but very proud."