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Maroons Origin spots on line as Sapphires, Rubys reach U-19 final

Sapphires fullback Jasmine Peters is expecting an aggressive battle between mates in the U19s Harvey Norman National Championships with State of Origin spots on the line. 

Both QRL sides – the Sapphires and Rubys – qualified for the U19s final on Sunday after stirring wins over NSW's City and Country sides on day three of the tournament.

The match will now act as a high-quality selection trial for Broncos NRLW premiership-winning coach Kelvin Wright, who will coach the  Queensland U19s side for the curtain raiser to the women's Ampol State of Origin on June 25.

For Peters, who was part of the first U18s State of Origin curtain raiser match at North Sydney Oval in 2018, she believes no-one will take a backward step in the final.

"We're definitely excited, especially for it being the first National Championships for all of us and against another Queensland side," Peters told NRL.com.

 2021 Women's National Championships - Day 3

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"It's going to be a great game. It will be aggressive but in our hearts, we're here to be selected for the under-19s Queensland side so have to play at our best. We're not buddies when we're on the field."

Peters was among the stars who helped the Sapphires topple NSW City and reach the final with the fullback helping to deny a late try to winger Jess Whelan with the game on the line.

Sapphires back-rower Keilee Joseph proved the saviour to bundle Whelan over the sideline after the winger latched on to intercept a pass and almost score with the side leading 6-4.

The Queensland Rubys set up an all-Queensland final by beating NSW Country.
The Queensland Rubys set up an all-Queensland final by beating NSW Country. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"As soon as you see an intercept when you're in front by a bit your heart drops but you've got to be there for your team," Peters said.

"But it was Keilee who got there in the end and she just never gave up."

An age group Queensland representative since she was 15, Peters is relishing the opportunity to represent her state at the National Championships.

It's the first time an U19s program has been run at the tournament, combined with the opens draw.

"I've loved every minute of it," Peters said.

"Just to see the pathways and how much it has grown and the opportunity to play against other states.

"We've even got a crowd, it's just amazing. To have a break last year because of the pandemic and develop as a player, I think a lot of girls have gone away and worked on their game.

"Seeing all the talent out there over the last couple of days I know we're going to put on a great spectacle in the future and at Origin this year."

Victoria celebrate a try during their 16-0 win over Western Australia.
Victoria celebrate a try during their 16-0 win over Western Australia. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

In the other matches to be played on Sunday, NSW will hold an unofficial City-Country battle earlier in the day in a play-off for third after falling short on day three with losses to Queensland. The QRL Rubys beat NSW Country 12-10.

Victoria and Northern Territory will start the day at Moreton Daily Stadium after both finished third in their respective pools with wins on Saturday.

Western Australia will meet South Australia with both sides looking to get their first win on the board.