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Steph Hancock in action for the Dragons.

Regular trips to the NSWRL's Centre of Excellence for Dragons training provided Maroons prop Steph Hancock with plenty of motivation for this year's Women's State of Origin clash.

Walking into the Sydney Olympic Park venue as a member of her 2020 NRLW team gave the veteran a front-row seat into where the NSW women prepare leading into the annual State of Origin clash each year.

It was the first time the 38-year-old stalwart played for an NRLW club filled with NSW talent after two seasons at the Broncos but an experience that left her walking away a better person.

"Absolutely no regrets playing for the Dragons this year but when I first walked into training and looked around at all the NSW history I thought what the bloody hell am I doing here?," Hancock tells

Steph Hancock playing for Queensland in 2019.
Steph Hancock playing for Queensland in 2019. ©Gregg Porteous/NRL Photos

"I brought my Queensland bag down because we hadn't got a Dragons one yet so I carried that on my shoulder when I walked in for the first time and it made me feel slightly better.

"It was definitely a strange experience but that's been the topic of this year. I just got weird shivers and tried to brush it off."

After completing a promise to PNG forward Elsie Albert of playing alongside her at the Dragons, the pair returned to Queensland and are in the middle of a 14-day quarantine before Hancock links with the Maroons for a 16th interstate appearance.

Part of the last four losses to NSW in recent years, Hancock has made more comebacks than John Farnham since declaring the World Cup in 2017 would be her last.

What the bloody hell am I doing here

Steph Hancock on visits to the NSWRL Centre of Excellence

She reckons Queensland coach Jason Hetherington will have a "Bundy rum" waiting for her when the Maroons squad assembles in camp ahead of the Sunshine Coast clash on November 13.

A victory on home soil may just be the grand finish she needs to finally hang up the boots.

"With Origin, oh man, I just live and breathe that shit," she said.

"I don't feel old. If you're good enough to earn a Queensland jumper then you're good enough.

"We'll go into our bubble hub then we'll play, smash the crap out of each other and then everyone will be right to kiss their partner and cuddle their kids again."

Hancock's larrikin personality hasn't diminished during her two-decade career.

In fact, it would be fair to say she's gotten funnier the longer her journey has extended.

She laughs when told her old-school personality leaves young players, who included her Dragons teammates that had never played alongside her prior to her NRLW stint in the Red V, scared and intimidated.

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"I don't know why but everyone says that because I'm really just a sook - the biggest and softest sook," Hancock said.

"I don't think I look scary but everyone thinks I'm this big, mean cop, football player.

"But I still cry every day because I miss my mum and I'm 39 in March, it's pathetic. Mum and Dad still live in Killarney so I don't get to see them much.

"I miss mum, and I suppose dad too, but he calls me every day."

The Maroons have named a star-studded squad for the clash which includes Broncos stars Tamika Upton and Tarryn Aiken, both of whom are yet to pull on a Queensland jersey.

"Watching Tamika and playing football with her at Souths this year and seeing what she's capable of, bloody hell," Hancock said.

"I'd hate to be Jase, Murph [assistant coach Karyn Murphy] and Nat [assistant coach Nat Dwyer].

"They've got some tough decisions to make as there are some good kids getting around especially having Z (Zahara Temara), Tarryn and Ali (Brigginshaw) available and in good form."

Acknowledgement of Country

Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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