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Manzelmann: 'As a little girl all I wanted to do was play State of Origin'

For Emma Manzelmann, it took a lot of self control to remain composed when Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons coach Tahnee Norris called to tell her she was in the team.

When she looked down at her phone, as she was packing in preparation to head to Townsville as one of North Queensland Cowboys' signings for their inaugural NRLW season, Manzelmann didn't know whether to pick up or not.

"I looked at the phone and saw that it was Tahnee and I was a bit standoffish about whether to answer it or not," she said, adding she obviously answered.

Manzelmann: 'I'm very honoured to be the inaugural signing'

"She's like 'Oh Em, just ringing with good news. Just want to let you know you're in the State of Origin team for Game I'.

"I was very excited obviously... just trying not the get too overwhelmed. I'm very excited to wear the Maroons jersey and represent my family.

"I tried to keep as calm as I could."

The 21-year-old north Queenslander, who was co-captain of the Queensland Under 18 side in 2019, said her mum and dad were eagerly awaiting what the news was as she hopped off the phone. 

"Mum and dad were standing at the door," she laughed. 

Emma Manzelmann: Unbelievable to be honest

Manzelmann's rugby league journey has included starring for North Queensland Gold Stars in last year's BMD Premiership and being named player of the match in the grand final and playing in the NRLW premiership-winning Newcastle Knights side.

This year Manzelmann starred for Mackay Cutters in the BMD Premiership and thoroughly impressed Norris. 

Grand final player of the match Emma Manzelmann

Norris said Manzelmann played "outstanding football" and had well and truly earned her spot in the team.

"She's a real spark in the middle of the field... she's lightning out of dummy half," Norris said.

The former national swimmer said she could not wait to represent her family and the state of Queensland come June 1 when the Maroons take on New South Wales.

"It means everything. Another dream come true. As a little girl all I wanted to do was play State of Origin. Now I get to do it, it's just everything I've ever dreamed of," Manzelmann said.

The gun hooker said of all of the Queensland values spoken about within every representative side, it was 'committed' that resonated the most with her - a value she prided herself on.

"Staying committed to yourself and the team.. making sure you're always there for one another and yourself," Manzelmann said.

"State of Origin is that next level - hits are harder, runs are stronger. My goal is just to play my best footy as soon as I step on that field.

"My role is to bring that impact off the bench. Play hard footy for as long as a can, give Destiny Brill a break, then come back off.

"Go Queensland."

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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