One of the biggest names in women’s rugby league was dropped by NSW for this year’s Origin Series, with a 24-man Blues squad named on Tuesday.
Half-back Maddie Studdon, who led the Blues to victory in the first State of Origin women’s game in 2018, has been left out of an all-star squad after the Eels missed out on a top-four berth in the first NRLW season of 2022.
Studdon, 27, played six games for the Blues. This is the second time she has been dropped, having also missed the 2020 side.
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The squad includes six players from NRLW Premiers Sydney Roosters and nine players from runners-up Dragons.
NSW coach Kylie Hilder spoke to Nine News immediately after naming the squad, saying they rewarded the players who performed best in the last NRLW competition.
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One of the most exciting additions to the Blues squad is Emma Tonegato, who fired up the NRLW after signing with the Dragons in the offseason following a stellar rugby sevens career. the Dally M medal this season.
“It was so good to see her playing in rugby league again,” Hilder said. “I watched when she played in the World Cup many years ago and then followed her for the seven.
“So to have her back in rugby league and the fact that she’s a NSW girl is really exciting for me.”
Hilder picked the full Dragons backbone in the Blues and said it was important to have established combinations, with players like rookie halfback Rachael Pearson knowing how to make the most of an X-factor like the rear Tonegato.
“Those connections and having that backbone together is going to be very important going forward, with such a short preparation as well,” Hilder said.
The Origin 2022 Women’s Match will take place in Canberra on Friday, June 24.
NSW Blues team (alphabetical order)
Kezie Apps, Corban Baxter, Shaylee Bent, Teagan Berry, Millie Boyle, Jaime Chapman, Keeley Davis, Quincy Dodd, Taliah Fuimaono, Filomina Hanisi, Talei Holmes, Isabelle Kelly, Olivia Kernick, Bobbi Law, Yasmin Meakes, Rachael Pearson, Tiana Penitani , Jess Sergis, Hannah Southwell, Renee Targett, Simaima Taufa, Sarah Togatuki, Emma Tonegato, Holli Wheeler
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