Queensland has won the opening game of the two-match Women's State of Origin series over New South Wales 18-10 in a scrappy contest at Western Sydney Stadium.
The Maroons outscored the Blues four tries to two in front of 12,972 supporters, a record for a women's interstate match.
The Blues had to deal with losing Tiana Penitani on the morning of the match with a hamstring strain, and then suffered further back-line disruption in the first half when Isabelle Kelly was taken from the field with a throat injury.
There was immediate concern for the Blues co-captain, who was coughing up blood at half-time before being taken to hospital.
Debutant Queensland prop Keilee Joseph was named player of the match as the Maroons earned a 1-0 lead in the two-match series.
The second game takes place in Townsville on June 22, when both teams will be hoping to improve on error-strewn performances that highlighted the lack of competitive action most women would have experienced in the build-up to the series.
Both teams committed 15 errors in the match, and combined for 10 penalties as handling errors ruled throughout the game, played in greasy conditions in Western Sydney.
Julia Robinson opened the scoring for the Maroons with the first of her two tries on the night, diving over in the corner after some neat work from Tamika Upton to open the line down the right side.
Tazmin Gray restored the Maroons lead, barging over from close range to give Queensland a 10-6 half-time lead.
The Blues came out firing in the second half, but a brilliant interception from outstanding centre Shenae Ciesiolka off a Jesse Southwell pass saw the Maroons turn goal line defence into rapid attack.
Robinson completed her double in the corner thanks to some more good hands to the right by the Maroons to take an 18-6 lead.
The Blues threw everything at the Maroons to close the gap, with points difference being a deciding factor should New South Wales manage to win Game II in Townsville, and crossed through Chapman in the corner.
However, the Blues could not reduce the deficit more and they face an uphill task to retain the shield in Game II.2023-06-01T18:27:26Z dg43tfdfdgfd