Jillaroos combine in Maroons win
KILLARNEY footballer Stephanie Hancock scored a try and set up another as the Queensland State of Origin women's rugby league team equalled the record of 13 straight successes of boom sprinter Black Caviar.
Prop Jo Barrett hails from Warwick and said it was awesome to play in a curtain raiser to men's State of Origin for the first time last night at Suncorp Stadium.
Like Black Caviar, Queensland made it 13 (series) wins in succession with a 26-0 victory against New South Wales.
Vice captain Tahnee Norris said Hancock was awesome out wide.
“Stephanie combined well with winger Natalie Gala,” Norris said.
“Jo started the game, came off for a bit of a break but made some big hits in defence.”
For the second time in two seasons, both Queensland props had a Southern Downs connection.
In 2010, Barrett and Hancock, who have both played for the Australian Jillaroos, were the props.
With the Maroons now using Hancock in the centres, Barrett was joined in the starting front row by Cairns prop Heather Ballinger.
Originally from Longreach, Ballinger was an athletics star while a boarder at Scots PGC.
She came off the bench last year and has played for the Jillaroos.
Norris was also impressed with the power running of Ballinger.
“Both our starting props ran hard and hit hard,” Norris said.
Barrett and her team-mates won't forget Origin in a hurry.
“We have played New South Wales in the country and before Queensland Cup games but to be on the same card as the men was important for the women's game,” she said.
“A letter from (Premier) Anna Bligh to our captain was read before the game.
“It was a great thrill to get our jerseys from (Origin legend) Choppy Close.”
As the taller of the two props, Barrett packs down on the side of the scrum where the ball is fed. Barrett said the Maroons side had been strengthened by the move of Hancock to centre.
“Stephanie can have a great impact with her strong running wide out,” she said.
The Queensland women's team went into camp on Friday and toured Suncorp Stadium on Tuesday with the Queensland under-16 boys team which was also playing last night.
There was plenty at stake last night with players vying for Jillaroos selection for a possible tour to Europe and Tests against New Zealand later this year.
The Jillaroos played a game in Warwick before the last World Cup.