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Women’s league ‘absolutely soaring’ after Newy sell out: Abdo

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NRL CEO Andrew Abdo believes women’s rugby league is “absolutely soaring” after this week’s State of Origin fixture sold out in Newcastle.

Following a last-minute rush for seating, the game’s governing body announced the “full house” sign would be placed on McDonald Jones Stadium when the NSW Sky Blues tackle the Queensland Maroons on Thursday 6 June.

All tickets were exhausted at the weekend for the eagerly-awaited contest.

That means Newcastle will register another record crowd after 25,492 people packed into Suncorp Stadium last month.

“Women’s rugby league is fast, it’s skilful, it’s exciting,” Abdo said.

“And, fans are responding in droves.

“Three straight record crowds in three straight Women’s State of Origin matches, the most watched women’s showdown in rugby league history and now the first sell out.

“We couldn’t be happier.

“Origin One was an amazing, thrilling spectacle, showcasing the very best women athletes in Australia of any sport.

“Fans clearly can’t wait to see them back on the field in the second game, where we expect to set new audience benchmarks.”

Adding to the atmosphere is the fact the Newcastle Knights will be represented by four of their premiership-winning stars on the big stage.

Olivia Higgins, Caitlan Johnston and Yasmin Clydsdale are key members of the Sky Blues, while Dally M Player of the Year Tamika Upton lines up for the Maroons.

Team news

  • NSW: Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder had the luxury of naming an unchanged squad for game two of the series on home soil in Newcastle. On the back of their 22-12 win in the opening fixture at Suncorp Stadium, the Blues will look to wrap it all up and take back the Origin shield after losing on points aggregate in last year’s two-game format.
  • Queensland: A number of changes for the Maroons as they look to level the series, with veteran playmaker Ali Brigginshaw shifting to halfback, Lauren Brown to the centres and Evania Pelite to the wing to cover for the injured Emily Bass (shoulder). Sienna Lofipo starts at lock with Zahara Temara dropped to the reserves alongside Keilee Joseph and Skyla Adams.

Women’s State of Origin

NSW Sky Blues v Queensland Maroons

(McDonald Jones Stadium)

7.45pm: Thursday 6 June

  • NSW Sky Blues: Emma Tonegato, Jaime Chapman, Jessica Sergis, Isabelle Kelly, Tiana Penitani, Corban Baxter, Rachael Pearson, Millie Elliott, Olivia Higgins, Caitlan Johnston, Kezie Apps, Yasmin Clydsdale, Keeley Davis; Taliah Fuimaono, Olivia Kernick, Grace Kemp, Sarah Togatuki; reserves: Jakiya Whitfeld, Kirra Dibb, Ellie Johnston
  • Queensland Maroons: Tamika Upton, Julia Robinson, Shenae Ciesiolka, Lauren Brown, Evania Pelite, Tarryn Aiken, Ali Brigginshaw, Shannon Mato, Destiny Brill, Jessika Elliston, Tazmin Rapana, Romy Teitzel, Sienna Lofipo; Emma Manzelmann, Makenzie Weale, Sophie Holyman, Emmanita Paki; reserves: Zahara Temara, Keilee Joseph, Skyla Adams

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