The Harvey Norman Queensland Emerging Origin Under 18 Girls squad met on Saturday for the first time since January, with young women from across the state gathering at the Brisbane Broncos training grounds in a hope of gaining selection in the Under 18 Girls State of Origin team.
In the dressing rooms, the atmosphere had an air of congeniality and comradery. Some of the players were meeting for the first time and seemed genuinely pleased to be making new friends - the atmosphere was bright, happy and energetic.
After a quick lunch – it was time to get down to business.
“The Queensland Under 18 Female day camp exceeded expectations in all regards – from how the squad applied themselves towards tactical plus game plan aspects; and their attitudes in approaching the day itself, as their intensity throughout the day was outstanding,” coach Ben Jeffries said of the camp.
The players were firstly engaged in a strategy session to watch film on how the squad would line up offensively and defensively come June at North Sydney Oval.
All players listened intently to what Jeffries and assistant coach Deanna Turner had to say. The questions put forward by the young women showed a depth of maturity and knowledge of the game beyond their years.
After a few remarks by Jeffries, it was time to head out to the field.
Divided into two teams – the ‘whites’ and the ‘reds’ – the players were taken through a series of warm-up exercises by the team trainer for the day Robyn Tyler.
The series of training games was officiated over by QRL referee Ryan Cracknell and any thought of this being a congenial game of touch footy quickly evaporated as players prepared for kick off.
Parents, friends and supporters seemed to appear out of the shadows of the carpark and leaned over the fences in anticipation.
With a sharp rasp of the whistle, the ball was kicked high into the air and caught on the 10 metre line.
The sound of the clashing bodies coupled with the involuntary expulsion of air from the colliding players was loud had many of the watching parents gasping – this was more than just a training drill.
For almost a solid 60 minutes, player combinations were moved around and changed to observe this talented pool of athletes.
Finally, the whistle blew and players stretched and warmed down before embracing in a large circle midfield in a show of comradery and strength.
“All players should be proud of their performances throughout the day, especially around the opposed session where we saw the squad realise the potential they could produce going forward into the Interstate game,” Jeffries said.
“Additionally, Deanna and I can certainly see all three regions within Queensland being represented when the final 18 is announced early June.”
Keep an eye on QRL.com.au for more details closer to the June 21 match.