MADDIE Studdon studies video of Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston in her quest to become the dominant playmaker in women’s rugby league.
The ex-Helensburgh Tigerlillies star’s passing and kicking game has been a key reason in NSW turning the tide to win the last two Interstate Challenge battles with Queensland, including the 22-6 triumph at WIN Stadium last month.
If she has her way, Studdon will lead a bright Blue era to rival Cronk and Thurston’s Origin dominance for the Maroons.
But, 100 days out from the women’s World Cup, Studdon is uniting with her Queensland foes to defend Australia’s crown.
“I watch a lot of NRL every week,” Studdon said.
“Particularly Cooper Cronk and Storm and how they go about it. And Johnathan Thurston too, when he’s fit.
“I like to do a lot of practice and extras at training about bringing some of the things they do to the women’s game. I think kicking in particular is really important in the women’s game and just trying to control our sets.”
Studdon was pushed back to the bench following the emergence of Simone Smith, but is focussed on being Australia’s top No.7.
Rugby league has wrestled with its identity on the international stage, often in the shadow of the Origin goliath which dominates the representative stage. But Studdon believes the World Cup will help unleash the potential of women’s rugby league in Australia. We’ve had the Rio Olympics rugby sevens gold medal and the Matildas dominating international football superpowers Brazil and the United States.
It’s time for women’s rugby league to capture to imagination of the Australian sporting public, Studdon has declared.
The Jillaroos are chasing a clean sweep this year, having already beaten arch-rivals New Zealand at the Auckland Nines and mid-season Test in Canberra.
They’re also defending World Cup champions, but expect a torrid test, with Canada an emerging force on the scene.
Illawarra premiers Corrimal will travel to Vancouver to play against Canada in October in the build-up to the World Cup.
“Even since the (women’s) Origin game was on Fox (Sports), the amount of feedback we’ve had has been great,” she said.
“You see how well the Matildas are doing and the growing popularity of women’s sport in general.
“It’s great to see and I have no doubt the World Cup will be another huge step for women’s rugby league. We’re definitely confident we can win it, especially at home.”
Papua New Guinea
Thursday, November 16 (Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla)
NZ v Canada
England v PNG
Australia v Cook Islands
Sunday, November 19
PNG v Canada
NZ v Cook Islands
Australia v England
Wednesday, November 22
England v Cook Islands
Australia v Canada
NZ v PNG
Sunday, November 26
Winner Pool B v Runner-up Pool A; Winner Pool A v Runner-up Pool B
Saturday, December 2 (Suncorp Stadium)