New eligibility rules for Women's State of Origin

As Queensland star Chelsea Baker recently put it, playing for the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons is an honour that should give players shivers.

There have been 128 women who have represented their state with distinction; and moving forward, the Maroons will continue to showcase Queensland's most talented players.  

From this year, Queensland Rugby League and New South Wales Rugby League will select players based on new eligibility rules. 

Two previous Queensland State of Origin stars are now ineligible to play for the Maroons following the changes. 

QRL representative programs and female elite pathways manager Mitchell Constance said Queensland utlity Rona Peters and second rower Mautia Feterika had been ruled out from this year.

Rona Peters with Queensland team mates in 2018. Photo: QRL Media
Rona Peters with Queensland team mates in 2018. Photo: QRL Media

“I want to make sure everyone remembers the girls who came before us; even though we're the ones who played the official State of Origin, we're not the first ones to put that jersey on,” Baker said.  

“We carry every single one of those ladies with us out onto the field when we run out.”

The new eligibility rules state:

  • A player who has represented a fellow Tier 1 nation (Australia, New Zealand England) cannot change allegiance to represent another Tier 1; therefore a player must be able to represent Australia in order to be selected to play State of Origin
  • Tier 2 nations (including Papua New Guinea and Samoa) are not affected 

Constance said it was with a heavy heart he had to inform Peters - a three-time Queensland representative - and Feterika they could not be selected because they were ineligible to play for Australia.

Mautia Feterika in action for Queensland. Photo: QRL Media
Mautia Feterika in action for Queensland. Photo: QRL Media

"The two women are not able to be selected due to their previous Tier 1 playing history with New Zealand," Constance said.

QRL chief operating officer Rohan Sawyer said it was a tough decision to make, but it was for the benefit of State of Origin moving forward, as the states move toward having consistent eligibility rules across the board.

"Both Rona and Mautia are very talented players, and we have been lucky to have them as part of our Queensland team," Sawyer said. 

"Both have served Queensland well."

A lot of work has gone into the QRL Women's Representative Pathways, which resulted in a recently released pathways map.