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NSW edges Queensland 18-14 in Townsville, but Maroons hoist Women’s State of Origin shield

Queensland have won the women's State of Origin Shield despite losing game two 18-14 to NSW.

Queensland have won the women's State of Origin Shield despite losing game two 18-14 to NSW. Photo: AAP

Queensland has been crowned women’s State of Origin champions for the first time since 2021, despite NSW winning a dramatic game two thanks to a penalty-try in the final minute.

A frantic final two minutes saw Yasmin Clydsdale have the ball kicked from her grasp while attempting to ground the ball, with Jesse Southwell’s conversion edging NSW into a 18-14 lead.

The Blues got a penalty from the first tackle off the kick-off but couldn’t score on a Hail Mary play with the siren sounding.

NSW was victorious in front of a record 18,275 crowd but Queensland was crowned the series champions after winning game one 18-10.

The Blues needed to win in Townsville by eight or more points to retain the shield on aggregate but came up just short.

All three of Queensland’s tries came in the opening half and they spent the back end of the contest scrapping for every metre defending wave after wave of a Blues onslaught.

Tamika Upton’s management of the defensive line and some last-ditch heroics denied NSW before a chaotic finish.

NSW had the edge in possession, territory, metres and line breaks, but when it mattered most in the final third the Maroons’ defensive line held firm.

With the score at 14-6 to begin the second half, NSW started just like it did in the first with a quick try to Tiana Penitani.

A beautiful shortside hands play put the powerful winger over and Southwell narrowed the deficit to two with a penalty a short time later.

Queensland then found itself under sustained pressure till the very end, with their important away win in Sydney the difference.

Upton’s cover defence was outstanding, as was her ability to read the Blues’ attack and thwart kicks behind the line.

Tazmin Gray had a blinder in the middle, as did Simaima Taufa on her return from injury.

NSW fullback Emma Tonegato ran for a game-high 207 metres as four of the Blues’ back five finished with 100 or more.

Penitani opened the scoring after four minutes and NSW raced out to a 6-0 lead when Southwell slotted a penalty goal.

The visitors showed their hand early, eager to throw the ball around and attack both edges, but against the run of play Gray ran a tight line off the shoulder of Tarryn Aiken before offloading to Upton for Queensland’s opening try.

From an error then penalty in NSW’s half, the Maroons were in again when Gray somehow managed an offload off the ground, as did Evania Pelite right after for Emily Bass to score.

Aiken then showed her skill from the restart to beat her defender and fend off Tonegato for Queensland’s third as the Maroons went bang-bang.

That would be Queensland’s final score of the night, but they held on late to hoist the shield in front of home fans.

-AAP

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