Usually the Women’s Interstate Challenge ends in tears for NSW rugby league players.
It was no different on the Gold Coast on Saturday – except this time they were tears of joy.
The Blues women snapped 17 years of Queensland dominance with an 8-4 win in their annual clash, claiming the Nellie Doherty Cup for the first time.
Queensland won 16 years straight before retaining the trophy with a 4-4 draw last year.
NSW weren’t to be denied this time, breaking the drought with a match-sealing 53rd minute try by lock Simaima Taufa.
The Blues women’s rugby league team appeared in a state of disbelief at fulltime at Cbus Super Stadium.
Then the tears started to flow.
“As soon as the siren sounded I just started crying my eyes out,” said NSW fullback Sam Bremner.
“I am in disbelief. This is my sixth Origin game – I have never been able to celebrate after an Origin before.”
The Blues men have lost 10 State of Origin series in 11 years.
But it is nothing compared to the frustration felt by the NSW women.
Blues captain Ruan Sims – sister of NRL stars Tariq and Korbin and England-based Ashton – hoped the NSW women could start their own dominant run.
“It hasn’t sunk in what we have achieved but I am so proud of the girls,” she said.
“I would like to see NSW start their own dynasty now.”
Taufa broke the deadlock after scores were 0-0 at halftime.
Queensland centre Amelia Kuk was held up in the 66th minute and Maroons hooker Brittany Brearley was denied a try in the 70th due to play-the-ball interference.
NSW jumped to an 8-0 lead when they were gifted a penalty in front after Bremner copped a high shot.
Queensland’s Ali Brigginshaw scored a 79th minute consolation try.
Adding to the win’s surreal nature was former NSW State of Origin forward Greg Bird’s presence.
Bird joined the NSW women’s team photo as they celebrated with the trophy on cbus Super Stadium.
Bird – a big supporter of the NSW women’s team – had been watching from the sidelines ahead of his Gold Coast Titans’ NRL clash with Parramatta.
It may be the closest veteran forward Bird gets to an Origin trophy after being dropped by NSW this year.