Queensland hoist the 2024 State of Origin trophy.
Queensland hoist the State of Origin trophy after their decisive 22-6 game-three win over NSW. Image by Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS
  • rugby league

Queensland complete turnaround, clinch Origin decider

Jacob Shteyman June 27, 2024

Queensland have won the first ever three-game Women’s State of Origin series thanks to a commanding 22-6 victory over NSW in Townsville.

Maroons five-eighth Tarryn Aiken tormented the Sky Blues with her kicking game at a slippery Queensland Country Bank Stadium to clinch the decider in front of a sell-out crowd.

NSW were their own worst enemy on Thursday night, their abysmal ball-handling stymieing any attacking opportunity they created.

Tarryn Aiken of Queensland.
 Tarryn Aiken was a constant thorn in the side of NSW on a rainy night in Townsville. Image by Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS 

They were unable to adjust to the rainy conditions, guilty of 17 errors and only completing a diabolical 59 per cent of their sets.

Queensland were not without fault, but their 74 per cent completion rate put them comfortably ahead of their opposition.

The wet conditions played into the Maroons’ hands, preventing NSW from playing their preferred expansive style of football but failing to deter the 22,000 mostly Queensland fans who watched their side make history.

“It doesn’t feel real at the moment,” Aiken told broadcaster Channel Nine.

“The atmosphere was unreal, the crowd was so good.”

The difference in intensity and line speed between the sides was stark.

The Maroons’ extra effort in front of their home support was clear to see in the stats, with 320 post-contact metres to the Sky Blues’ 229.

“That was the hardest game I’ve ever played,” Aiken said.

“That second half, I was just trying to hang on.

“We made a big point during the week on our effort areas and that our defence was going to win us the game.”

NSW got off to the worst possible start, with fullback Emma Tonegato knocking the ball on in her side’s first use of the footy.

Straight from the scrum, Aiken sent Evania Pelite through the Sky Blues defence with a cleverly disguised short pass for the first try of the game.

Pelite was a stand-out for the hosts. The Gold Coast centre ran for 112 metres, made four tackle busts and out-muscled the NSW right edge in defence.

At one point she ploughed Sky Blues centre Jessica Sergis into touch to regain possession.

Queensland continued to pile on the pressure, with Aiken’s probing kicking repeatedly finding Tonegato and her fellow outside backs out of position.

Aiken picked up her second try assist later in the first half with a grubberkick triggering some Keystone Cops defending from NSW.

Tonegato made a meal of gathering up the loose ball, kneeing it into teammate Tiana Penitani, with Queensland winger Julia Robinson swooping on the ricochet to ground the easiest of tries.

Aiken’s halves partner Ali Brigginshaw also had an impressive game with the boot, the highlight being a 40-20 to get her side out of trouble in the second half.

Tazmin Rapana (centre) celebrates her late try for Queensland.
 Tazmin Rapana’s late try sparked wild celebrations for State of Origin winners Queensland. Image by Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP PHOTOS 

NSW weren’t without their promising moments. Queensland gave the visitors plenty of opportunities to strike back, conceding nine penalties to piggy-back the Blues into scoring positions.

But each time NSW looked a chance of finding some points they contrived to knock the ball on.

A 90-metre Jaime Chapman intercept try with 10 minutes to play added a bit of jeopardy to the closing minutes but it was too little, too late from the wasteful Sky Blues.

Back-rower Tazmin Rapana sealed the game three minutes before the final whistle, crashing over to spark jubilant Queensland celebrations.

The victory completed an unlikely turnaround for Tahnee Norris’s side after they were outplayed by NSW in Origin I and required a late comeback to salvage the series in game two.