The Touch Football State of Origin shield will remain in New South Wales, after a thrilling day of competition at C.ex Coffs International Stadium. But Queensland didn’t hand over all the bragging rights, winning eight of the 17 divisions on offer, including all three open divisions – Women’s Open, Men’s Open and Mixed Open.
Cross code representatives NRLW Brisbane Broncos player Hayley Maddick (Women’s Open) and Australian netball rising star Leesa MiMi (Mixed Open) spearheading their sides to victory. Maddick, who made herself unavailable from the opening round of the NRLW this weekend to play Touch Football State of Origin, said she could not be more proud of her team.
“We’ve worked so hard for this – we love coming to Origin and playing against a really hard team,” Maddick said. “We knew New South Wales didn’t reach their full potential in our first game, and we knew it was going to be a tough one coming out today. I wouldn’t call it lucky to come away with the win, because we worked really hard to get it, but we’re glad to have been able to get the job done,” she said. Queensland debutant, Olivia Goodsell, burst into the opens side; claiming two tries in her maiden game that saw the women win a baffling 4-0 victory over the southerners.
Hailing from touch football royalty, Gold Coaster, Peter Norman led his Men’s Opens side to back-to-back State of Origin Series wins. It was a thrilling victory for the Queenslanders, coming from behind to blow out the score in the end, 10-5.
“We were a bit disappointed with the result on Friday night, obviously going down right at the end of a drop off,” Norman said. “But that’s Origin, you’ve got to expect the unexpected and our boys dug really deep there at the end to hold off a really strong side.
When talking about how it feels to wear the maroon this year Norman says, “There’s no other jersey that I feel more privileged to put on, and every time we put it on we want to do something that’s going to make everyone who has ever had something to do with our touch football careers and lives proud, and I think we really managed to do that today.”
Stars from across the state were also centre stage, with Rockhampton’s Jaymon Bob (Mixed Opens) and Toowoomba’s Jake Notley (Men’s Opens) both winning the State of Origin series with their sides and Jake Notley making an almost full field run away in the third game. A master move that turned the game on its head!
Bob was overjoyed with the victory, saying it was great to win for his team, but also for his state and family and friends back home in Rockhampton. “It’s one of the best feelings in the world really, to put this jersey on and represent my people back home and from across Queensland,” Bob said. “I think both teams came here wanting to win all games – clean sweep – but at the start of our campaign, we said we had the team to do it and we just proved that then. Last year they got us 2-1 in the series, so coming out this year we had something to prove and we’re super happy to get the win,” he said.
Townsville’s Madeline Mathews was another standout of the series for the Women’s 20s, as the youngest member of the entire Queensland contingent. Despite her side not getting the Series win, Mathews said it was a great experience travelling down from Townsville to represent her state.
“I’ve had a really fun experience – getting to play at this level is the next step for me,” Mathews said. “Everyone here is at the top of their game so it’s just been a really great learning experience overall for me. It’s a lot faster and more physical here than what it is back home in Townsville – the skills here are next level,” she said.
New South Wales defeated Queensland 9-8 (17 divisions), a nail-biting finish, one of the closest in Origin history. The overall win for New South Wales marks their ninth series straight, with details of the next Touch Football State of Origin series still to be decided.
TOUCH FOOTBALL STATE OF ORIGIN SERIES WINNERS
Women’s Open – Queensland 2-1
Men’s Open – Queensland 2-1
Mixed Open – Queensland 2-1
Women’s 20 – New South Wales 2-1
Men’s 20 – Queensland 2-1
Women’s 27 – Queensland 2-1
Men’s 30 – New South Wales 2-1
Mixed Senior – New South Wales 2-1
Women’s 35 – New South Wales 2-1
Men’s 35 – New South Wales 3-0
Women’s 40 – New South Wales 2-1
Men’s 40 – Queensland 3-0
Women’s 45 – New South Wales 3-0
Men’s 45 – Queensland 2-1
Women’s 50* – Queensland 3-0
Men’s 50 – Queensland 2-1
Men’s 55 – New South Wales 2-1
Men’s 60 – New South Wales 2-1
*Does not count towards final result.
Player of the Series
Women’s Open – No.12 Catherine Sargent (QLD)
Men’s Open – No.5 Corey Russell (QLD)
Mixed Open – No.1 James Hegedus (QLD)
Women’s 20 – No.3 Mackenzie Davis (NSW)
Men’s 20 – No.3 Jai Charlton (QLD)
Women’s 27 – No.7 Courtney Trenerry (QLD)
Men’s 30 – No.11 Caidyn Wynyard (NSW)
Mixed Senior – No.5 Manu Wakely (NSW)
Women’s 35 – No.4 Tahney Luck (NSW)
Men’s 35 – No.1 Steven Takchi (NSW)
Women’s 40 – No.4 Karina Haddin (NSW)
Men’s 40 – No.10 Aaron Jones (QLD)
Women’s 45 – No.2 Belinda Patterson (NSW)
Men’s 45 – No.3 Craig Madders (QLD)
Women’s 50 – No.11 Rebecca Dale (QLD)
Men’s 50 – No.2 Troy Morgan (QLD)
Men’s 55 – No.4 David Cheung (NSW)
Men’s 60 – No.7 Brett Gillard (NSW)