QLD to turn back the clock in women's clash

Queensland will attempt to turn the clock back almost 40 years at North Sydney Oval tonight with an upset victory over New South Wales in the inaugural Harvey Norman Women's State of Origin clash.

Thirty-eight years ago an ageing Arthur Beetson inspired the maroons to victory as underdogs in the very first State of Origin match against NSW at Lang Park, sparking what has since become a sporting phenomenon.

One of Beetson's teammates that night I n 1980 was a tough-as-teak second-rower from Toowoomba named Rohan Hancock.

Hancock played 11 Origins and was considered one of the hardest men to pull on a Maroon jumper.

Tonight, his daughter Steph will follow in her father's footsteps, coming out of retirement to lead the women's side into battle, also as heavy underdogs.

"It's the inaugural women's Origin so we want to do what Artie did all those years ago and get Queensland's name on the trophy first," coach and former Queensland and Australian hooker Jason Hetherington told QRL Media.

"Rohan (Hancock) was in that side and we his daughter Steph in ours."

Hetherington convinced Hancock to play her 14th interstate game and the most significant in history, because he felt "I needed her".

"We worked pretty hard on her because I just thought I needed her for this one," he said.

"She's in a real good place, she is excited and she has been great around the girls with her experience.

"I think she is going to be very valuable."

Queensland won 17 straight interstate games before the 18th ended in a 4-4 draw.

NSW have won the last two games back-to-back but will be without power player Ruan Sims (broken hand and nose) against a Maroons side determined to turn the tide tonight and create history.

Both sides will take the field tonight with a lot of new faces; NSW with five rookies and Queensland with six.

The enormity of the occasion is not lost on a proud Hetherington who has spent the past week preparing the team and putting the 'Queenslander' into them.

The game will been aired live on Channel 9 and also Fox, giving it the potential to pull in a very big audience.

"I've tried to drill that home to the players," said Hetherington who played in eight Origins and was a man-of-the-match in one of them.

"Take Mariah Storch, she probably played up in Blackwater in front of a hundred people and a couple of dogs last week but this week she will play in front of a million or more people.

"I'm trying to let them (players) know this a special moment is for them."

Hetherington believes he has a good balance of youth and experience with powerhouses Rona Peters and Heather Ballinger in the middle and Hancock coming off the bench to provide extra grunt and muscle.

"Meg Ward (centre) has been a ripper, she looks really good," Hetherington said.

"Ali Brigginshaw has a nice passing game and Brittany Breayley (hooker) has a beautiful pass and is tough and willing."

He said the players had the skills and power to put on a great show for fans as well as the fire and aggression that Origin is built on.

"These girls don't hold back, they're fearless," he said.

"I've picked a side that I think suits what we want to do, which is an aggressive approach to win an Origin."

Hetherington, a relaxed country boy from Baralaba, said Origin greats Gilly (Trevor Gillmeister) and Alfie (Allan Langer) would run the water out to the players tonight after helping with their preparations through the week.

The women's squad received a surprise last night when former Queensland and Australian halfback Cooper Cronk presented them with their jerseys at a special dinner.