NSW Ladies of Origin seek to end 14-year losing streak

Helensburgh stars and Blues members Ruby Ewe, left, Kezie Apps and Sam Hammond. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

Helensburgh stars and Blues members Ruby Ewe, left, Kezie Apps and Sam Hammond. Picture: GREG TOTMAN

RUGBY LEAGUE

AS NSW celebrate breaking Queensland's eight-year stranglehold on State of Origin, the women's Blues team face the daunting task of halting a run of 14 straight Maroons' wins.

Helensburgh star Sam Hammond, famously dubbed the "female Billy Slater" by Kangaroos coach Tim Sheens, will spearhead the side along with Tigerlillies teammates Kezie Apps, Maddi Studdon and Ruan Sims, who is the sister of NRL players Ashton and Tariq.

Corrimal's Jennifer Latu will also feature in the side looking to end a 14-year NSW drought when they meet the Maroons at Leichhardt Oval on July 19.

Hammond is one of few experienced campaigners in the Blues side but she is confident it has the right mix of youth and experience to end Queensland's run.

"There's been a big turnaround player-wise and it's a fairly new team," Hammond said.

"There's only four of us who played last year and everyone else is new, not new to the game but new to the Origin team.

"We've been training twice a week which is the most we've ever done as a NSW squad leading into a camp so that makes a huge difference."

In much the same way as Laurie Daley at senior level sought to utilise club combinations, coach Matt Head has looked to club combinations in selecting his side with Helensburgh contributing four members while Canley Heights provide 10.

"There's some good combinations in there already so we're working with that," Hammond said.

"A lot of the girls play together in the Sydney comp and then there's a few of us who play together in the Illawarra comp so the combinations are already there which really helps a lot.

"We don't have to create that because it's already there so that's been good."

Hammond said buying into the blue jumper and bonding as a side is just as important for the women as it was for the men if they want to break the Maroons' stranglehold.

"We haven't won for years and years but you read things on social media saying 'you'll never beat the Queensland girls' and that's just motivation for us. We've all read it and we love it," Hammond said.

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