LEGENDARY CAREER: Hancock bows out a winner in Origin
RUGBY LEAGUE: Downs duo Steph Hancock and Shenae Ciesiolka have played their roles in ending the State of Origin supremacy of the New South Wales women.
In front of a sold-out crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday night, Queensland prevailed 24-18.
It was the dawn of a new era for the Maroons, while closing the chapter of one of Queensland’s greatest ever players.
Steph Hancock called time on her illustrious career for the Maroons, stretching 16 appearances from 2004.
“To do it back home in Queensland and win the way we did was amazing,” Hancock said.
“It was a bloody tough game, and that one will stay in the memory bank.
“Our first half was pretty poor and we went away from the game plan. We made a lot of handling errors.
“Origin comes down to who wants it more. We got into the sheds and I said to the girls that we had 35 minutes left to prove we wanted it more.”
The words of inspiration from the forward worked, with three tries in a 14-minute stretch after the break giving the Maroons a 24-6 advantage, including a bargeover try from dummy half from Hancock, who had a smile on her face from the moment she stepped on the field.
“I can’t believe they were silly enough to fall for a dummy from the big fella,” she said.
“Knowing that it was going to be my last game, I wanted to make the most of it and enjoy every second of it.
“There were times where it was 6-all and I was starting to get a bit emotional and thinking that this better not get away from us.”
Ciesiolka was one of nine debutants in the victory, which ended a four-year winless run for the Maroons, and Hancock said it is time for this new generation to guide the way forward.
“I wanted to leave Origin in the best way possible,” she said.
“For the kids that haven’t experienced winning, they’re now fortunate enough to know what it feels like.
“It was an honour to play in a Maroons jumper for 16 years, and it was the best experience of any football team I’ve been involved in.”
The 38-year-old hasn’t made a decision on her involvement in the 2021 NRLW season.
Originally published as LEGENDARY CAREER: Hancock bows out a winner in Origin