RETURNING: Stephanie Hancock (smiling) runs out in front of Heather Ballinger for a Broncos game in the 2018 NRL women's competition.
RETURNING: Stephanie Hancock (smiling) runs out in front of Heather Ballinger for a Broncos game in the 2018 NRL women's competition. Broncos

Killarney forward is playing on for Maroons and Broncos

RUGBY LEAGUE: Killarney footballer Stephanie Hancock has decided to play this year's State of Origin game against New South Wales with one thought on her mind - a burning desire to win the trophy.

After Queensland was unbeaten in the battle for interstate supremacy for 17 years, the two sides drew in 2016 and New South Wales won in 2017.

Last year, State of Origin was played for the first time by the women and the Blues were victorious.

Hancock is keen to win an Origin series just like her father Rohan who was part of the initial five Queensland men's game wins in State of Origin.

While she has one up on her father as an Origin captain, she has not yet joined him as a State of Origin winner.

Both Hancock and good mate Heather Ballinger, a former Scots PGC student in Warwick, were going to retire after playing in the Broncos NRLW grand final win but both are playing on.

Hancock played in Central Crows trials at Kawana and is part of the Crows team which will play in Queensland Country selection trials in Mackay this weekend. Ballinger will also be at the trials but part of the North Queensland Marlins team.

While Hancock is sticking to her decision to retire from international footy, she and Ballinger have already been to a meeting of the leadership group at the Broncos NRLW team.

"I love the whole footy team environment, it is hard to give it away.”

Last year was the inaugural NRLW competition and Hancock could not believe how good it was to be a professional footballer, if only for a month.

"I can't believe how good it would be to just be a footballer like the boys are,” she said.

She did mix footy and her job as a police officer during the month of the NRLW competition last season.

Hancock has been used at times as an impact player off the bench and just wants to be in the Queensland and Broncos teams and is not worried by the number on her back.

"It doesn't worry me if I am in the starting side or come off the bench. I did enjoy it off the bench last season,” she said.

While she still has two selection hurdles to climb, she is an almost certain selection for the Maroons and Broncos.

"I am injury free and working hard on my fitness before Origin,” she said.

An extra incentive to play Origin is the presence of good mates, former Warwick player Jo Barrett as Maroons manager and former Queensland and Australian coach Karyn Murphy as assistant coach under coach Jason Hetherington.



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