Why Qld feels like home for the Blues

Having to travel north to win a State of Origin series is supposed to be one of the toughest things a player can do, but home ground advantage hasn’t been a factor at all for the women, with NSW star Jess Sergis describing the prospect of winning game 3 at her “second home” as the “pinnacle” of her career.

The Sky Blues missed the chance to wrap up the series in front of a sold-out crowd in Newcastle after Lauren Brown landed a late field goal for Queensland, with the home team now winless in all four women’s Origin matches since the series was expanded from one-off clashes last year.

The Maroons won in Sydney last year before the Sky Blues got their revenge in Townsville, with the visiting team winning on both occasions so far this series, which bodes well for NSW who are looking forward to some warmer weather up north.

why qld feels like home for the blues

Why Qld feels like home for the Blues

“It’s nice to be the underdogs because we don’t have that pressure on us,” Sergis said, having battled cramps and corks to her quads in game 2.

“I don’t know why, but we just can’t win in our own state, so we’ll take it up to Queensland and get the job done there.

“Townsville feels like a second home for us. We love the weather and the forecast is great so we can go to the pool, grab a coffee and soak it all in.”

While the men’s side has struggled to handle the hostile environment in Queensland over the years, it’s been a different story for the women who have felt the respect from Maroons supporters during and after games.

Sergis noticed it at Suncorp Stadium after the series opener, with the strike centre likening it to Matildas matches that attract a more family-friendly crowd.

why qld feels like home for the blues

“It’s not as intense, and that’s why I love playing up there because they are obviously Queensland fans, but I know they’re fans of us as individuals,” she said.

“After the game they want our photo and signature, and none of them are rude or nasty about anything. I think the boys cop it a lot more in that sense with the sledging, but the female fans are a lot more respectful and just want to watch a good game of football.

“I’ve never had any issues up there.”

NSW skipper Isabelle Kelly hasn’t let herself dream yet of what it would be like to win the first three-game series in enemy territory, but she’s not worried about any potential backlash if she has to lift the shield in front of a heaving Queensland crowd.

why qld feels like home for the blues

“We know it’s going to be tough in Townsville, but I think there’s something about Townsville that we really love and we thrive under as well,” she said.

“For me, I love playing in places that aren’t home for me. It’s a bit of a challenge, but I like that.

“Brisbane was a great win for us, and being away from home and making sure you have to be at your best when people aren’t screaming for you to do well (motivates you) and adds to the grudge of State of Origin.

“State of Origin in itself is a massive rivalry, but when you go outside your home state, it adds that little bit more. We’ve always loved Townsville, so it was great when we saw it in the calendar.”

Sergis would have loved to have got the job done in the pouring rain in Newcastle three weeks ago, but avenging last year’s controversial series defeat away from home would be the “pinnacle” for a player who has achieved everything.

“Going to a decider is the best thing for the game and the public,” she said.

“Being one-all really makes the third game more interesting and better to watch. It’s great for the fans, but we know what we’ve got to do. To take the shield in enemy territory would be the pinnacle.”

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