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NSW Hold Off QLD Fightback To Clinch 2022 Women's Origin In Front Of Record Crowd

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NSW Hold Off QLD Fightback To Clinch 2022 Women's Origin In Front Of Record Crowd

New South Wales have beaten Queensland 20-14 to be crowned 2022 women's State of Origin champion on a cold night in Canberra.

The Sky Blues lead early on but dug deep to hold off a brave fight back from the Maroons.

Queensland were hoping to make it a hat-trick of victories, but it's Sky Blues skipper Kezie Apps who proudly lifts the trophy above her head this time round.

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Credit: Supplied
Credit: Supplied

A record number of people watched the highly-anticipated inter-state clash – and for good reason too.

11,321 die-hard fans braved the cold in the Australian capital to pack out GIO Stadium with all 34 players put on one hell of a show.

We witnessed huge hits, tantalising tries and even a bit of controversy.

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But in the end, it's new South Wales who are now the holders of the shield with Isabelle Kelly producing an incredible performance to be named player of the match.

It was fireworks from the very first whistle, a huge hit-up on the very first play.

Star fullback Tamika Upton was forced to spring into action early doors too, making a brilliant try-saving tackle to deny NSW an almost-certain try 10 minutes in.

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It was Queensland who drew first blood when hooker Brittany Breayley-Nati unleased Destiny Brill who went steaming over the try line to open the scoring.

Isabelle Kelly. Credit: Supplied
Isabelle Kelly. Credit: Supplied

2020 Dally M medallist Emma Tonegato then levelled things up, running onto a kick and showing great skill to place the ball down before it went out of play.

The Sky Blues extended their lead shortly after when Kirra Dibb sliced through the Maroons defence to cross the line.

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A botched captain’s challenge lead to an opportunity for the Maroons to decrease the margin too.

As the ball was flung out of the resulting scrum, Tarryn Aiken sold a beautiful dummy which bamboozled the NSW defence.

She then sliced through the line to pull the Maroons right back into it heading into half time.

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Caitlan Johnston came out for the second half all guns blazing again, running full pelt at the Queenslanders to take the first hit-up.

Another huge hit from the Skye Blues interchange.

With just over 10 minutes left, Aiken made a burst for the corner and looked like she was wrapped up by four New South Wales players.

But Aiken never gave up on the play and somehow managed to squeeze the ball through the tiniest of gaps to find rugby union convert Evania Pelite.

And Pelite made no mistake, diving for the corner while the Skye Blues watched on wondering what on earth happened.

But just as Queensland thought they'd closed the gap, New South Wales extended their lead thanks to a free-flowing attack which Tiana Penitani finished off expertly .

Incredibly, though, it was ruled that Isabelle Kelly had passed the ball forward during the build-up.

Heartbreak for New South Wales – but that was nothing compared to the emotions Queensland were about to feel.

The Maroons thoughts they'd scored a try in the dying embers of the game when an Ali Brigginshaw bomb caught New South Wales napping.

Pelite then ran through and grounded the ball, only for the bunker to overrule it.

It was then over to Isabelle Kelly to close the show at the other end of the field, bulldozing over the line to finally put the game out of reach for Queensland.

Her teammates knew what the try meant, mobbing Kelly as the NSW supporters leapt to their feet.

It seemed only fitting that she was named player of the match.

Featured Image Credit: Supplied/NRL

Topics: Australia, Rugby League, NRL

Max Sherry
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