Queensland skipper Ali Brigginshaw has welcomed the decision to have a possible 1-1 Origin series draw decided by points aggregate ahead of the opening game at CommBank Stadium on June 1.
The NRL confirmed on Friday that if the two-game series was deadlocked at the end of Game Two in Townsville on June 22, the state who had the most points scored across both matches will win the shield.
It's a particularly big win for the Maroons, who were otherwise staring down the barrel of needing to win both Origin games in 2023 to win back the shield after NSW claimed victory in the only match in Canberra last year.
Brigginshaw said no matter what, the focus remained on winning both games this year, with Maroons coach Tahnee Norris reiterating the importance of starting well to her squad, but added it was nice to have that as an option for the series.
“It's a breath of fresh air,” Brigginshaw said on Friday.
“New South Wales weren't on board with the points aggregate [option], but coming off the back of a loss last year, it was really important for us.
“We've always had the focus of just winning the two games anyway. Whenever you pull on this jersey, you never want to think about if you lost the first one or what that looked like, so Tahnee’s been very clear on you just win both games.
“I don't even want to talk about losing, so it’s never really crossed our minds.
“We've had a bit of a joke with some of the Blues girls that will just coordinate our own third game … but now that the points aggregate is there, that kind of takes away the pressure of that one as well.”
Next week's game will also see Brigginshaw return to the position where she last experienced success when the Maroons won the shield in 2021.
Brigginshaw will start at lock with Raiders-bound Zahara Temara lining up at halfback alongside Tarryn Aiken at five-eighth.
With Destiny Brill at starting hooker and Tamika Upton at fullback, it is a return to same spine that tasted success two years ago at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
“I love it,” Brigginshaw said on her move back to the forwards.
“I think it's a bit of a challenge. It mixes it up and we've got great halves in Tarryn and Zahara and we've got some more ball playing in there in the middle.
“We're playing a different style I guess this year and, we're all learning.
“When we come to the training sessions with the coaching staff, we're all learning something different. I love a challenge, so bring it on.”
Ali Brigginshaw the player of the match
Set to suit up for her 13th game for Queensland on Thursday night, Brigginshaw comes into this year’s Origin campaign off the back of guiding the Jillaroos to a third World Cup title, and still insists she has plenty of football left in her.
A veteran of the game who has seen rapid changes in recent seasons, the Broncos captain was thrilled to see the continuing growth in women's pathways, with the expanded NRLW competition also kicking off in July, in addition to the two-game Origin series.
“It's always exciting; when we first pulled on a Broncos jersey, you wouldn't have known …. that now we'd have 10 teams and you don't know who's going to be lining up for each team,” Brigginshaw told NRL.com.
“It'll be interesting to see what players, what new faces there are this year.
“It's about playing more footy, and that's the best standard of footy you can play with another Origin and more at NRLW level; the more games the better.
“It's going to be very exciting (and) we just want to play more footy so whatever that looks like.”
Match: Sky Blues v Maroons
Game 1 -
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Main image: Ali Brigginshaw on the opening day of Queensland Origin camp. Photo: Zain Mohammed / QRL