THE 2016 Blues will always be remembered as the drought-breakers, but NSW skipper Ruan Sims insists her side has their sights set on more than a lone breakthrough victory as they prepare to defend the Nellie Doherty Cup at WIN Stadium on Sunday.
The Blues win in Townsville last season snapped an unbroken 17-year run of interstate dominance for the Maroons, one of the longest streaks in Australian sport.
It’s a weighty ledger to swing but Sims said the Blues are keen to build a lasting legacy of their own.
“We’re not really looking at it as defending the Cup, we’re going to go out there on Sunday to win it again,” Sims said.
“Queensland’s history, 17 years of dominance, is unprecedented in the men’s and women’s game. They’re a phenomenal team, their history, they’re legacy is so rich and for NSW we’re trying to build our own and last year was the start of that.”
One of the genuine pioneers in the women’s game, Sims is more than qualified to talk about legacy and her own – and that of entire current generation – will extend far beyond the on-field action on Sunday.
Where, in the past, preparation for the Interstate Challenge amounted to a lone ball work session, this camp in Kiama saw the Blues conduct coaching clinics for around 100 schoolgirls.
It’s there, where the current Blues can leave the biggest mark according to Sims.
“It was so great to see,” she said.
“The women’s game has just come along in leaps and bounds. I know that every sport says that and I know we say it a lot in rugby league but it truly has. I’m a probably just a pioneer of the current stage but there’s plenty of women who’ve gone before me that have done it a lot tougher.
“We’re reaping the rewards of the hard yards they put in years ago and I believe the young girls, the likes of which we saw [on Thursday], are going to be reaping the rewards of what we’re doing now. I think that excites, not just myself and NSW, I know the Queensland girls feel exactly the same.
“We’re just passionate about the game, we absolutely love it and I think that’s why people love watching women’s rugby league, especially the Interstate, especially the Jillaroos-Kiwis, because they can see the passion we have for the sport.”
That passion will be on full display on Sunday with two sides full of Jillaroos experience and some exciting new talent.
“Both sides have some brand new X factors, we’ve got a lot of debutants,” Sims said.
“It’s Origin footy and that’s what people can expect on Sunday. You look at the men’s game, there’s teammates playing against each other, Internationals playing against each other and sometimes you’ve just got to cancel each other out and let those X factors in to do their thing.
“That’s what I’ll be looking to do, just go out there and do my job to my full potential and I know the rest of the girls will be doing the exact same thing. If we do I’m sure we’ll come away with that Nellie Doherty Cup again.”