QRL & Harvey Norman drive new pathway for QLD Women

Some of the state's leading women's players will return to their roots as part of an exciting new representative pathway unveiled by the Queensland Rugby League today.

The revamped structure has been made possible by the support of Major Partner Harvey Norman and will give players involved in the game's fastest growing participation segment the opportunity to represent the region where they first registered to play rugby league.

Many of these players will be vying for spots in the respective Northern and Central teams, who will face off in a Queensland Country selection trial.

From this game, a Country team will be selected to contest the 2018 Harvey Norman Women's National Championship.

This prestigious event will be held at Southport's Owen Park from June 1-3; and will also feature Queensland City, New South Wales City, New South Wales Country, Combined Affiliate States and the Australian Defence Force.

The National Championship will provide the final opportunity for participants to impress selectors and play their way into the Queensland team for the women's Origin blockbuster against New South Wales at North Sydney Oval on Friday, June 22.

The Queensland City team will primarily be selected from players involved in the SEQ Senior Women's Division 1 competition.

Some players currently performing strongly in that competition, including the likes of experienced representative forward Steph Hancock (who retired from international football last year), will nominate to play for their home region.

A Killarney junior, Hancock is excited about the opportunity to represent South West at the 47th Battalion Carnival in Toowoomba on May 5-6.

"I debuted for Toowoomba Fillies – and Dad played for Queensland Country and I have never had that opportunity before," Hancock said.

"SEQ is concentrated with talent; so a few of us thought 'let's go play with country'.

"I think (this new selection pathway) is a great thing for Queensland ... and obviously they are going to have to make some big decisions when it comes to selecting a Queensland team, which is a good thing."

Hancock's first target is to play her way into a Central Crows jersey for the clash against Northern at Mackay's BB Print Stadium on May 19.

Central is set to face a stern test from a strong Northern team, which will be selected following matches between Cairns, Townsville and Mackay.

These trials will also feature a sprinkling of players from Mount Isa and the Cape and Torres Strait.

The 2018 Harvey Norman Women's National Championship will be run in conjunction with the QRL's State Men's Championship, together with the QRL's Women's Emerging Carnival.

Key dates:

• 47th Battalion Carnival (Central Division): Clive Berghofer Stadium, Toowoomba – May 5-6.

• Northern Marlins selection trials (Northern Division), Jack Manski Oval, Townsville – May 5-6.

• Harvey Norman Queensland Country selection trial – Northern v Central: BB Print Stadium, Mackay – May 19

• Harvey Norman Women's National Championship: Owen Park, Southport – June 1-3.

• Holden Women's State of Origin: Harvey Norman Queensland v Harvey Norman New South Wales, North Sydney Oval – June 22.