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'We don’t want to feel it again': Determined Elliston ready for Game II

Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons prop Jessika Elliston hopes her teammates look at her as someone who will always get the job done and will leave nothing on the paddock.

It's a quality that will be needed more than ever this Thursday as the Maroons head into their must-win Game II clash at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium.

In front of a sold-out record crowd, the Maroons have to overcome New South Wales to keep this year's State of Origin series alive, after the Sky Blues claimed Game I at Suncorp Stadium last month.

For starting prop Elliston, it’s not just a must-win game because of what it means for Queensland’s hopes of retaining the shield, but it’s a must-win game for her team, for her family and friends, for the fans, and for the generations of players that have come before.

Elliston. Photo: Gaby Barns/QRL
Elliston. Photo: Gaby Barns/QRL

“It was obviously a pretty horrible feeling but it’s a feeling we don’t want to feel again,” Elliston said of the Game I loss.

“You play for this team and we had such a special camp in Camp I. We got messages from the first 18 women that ever represented Queensland.

“Feeling like we disappointed them or not living up to what we can produce, you just don’t want to let anyone down… your family or friends.”

Elliston said there was not necessarily anything the Maroons did wrong in Game I.

They were shocked by the speed of the game and New South Wales capitalised in the opening 10 minutes.

But the Gold Coast Titans and Tweed Seagulls forward believes they’re now ready for that come Thursday.

“I’m really excited to go out and prove a point,” she said.

“We know exactly what is expected and what the game is going to give us.

“It was so fast last time. I was trying to get my breath back within the first five minutes. It was such a fast, fast game and full on at all times.

“There was no lack of effort, none of that. We just didn’t do our one percenters.

“We’re going to get that down pat and trust everything Tahnee (Norris) and our coaching staff are going to do for us to make sure we do execute.”

For Elliston, her role is clear.

She knows exactly what she has to do to help her side to victory and she hopes they know they can count on her.

“I just want to make sure I’m doing my job and doing what’s needed for the team - my job, my role,” she said.

“I want to make sure I ace my job and it makes it easier for the next person to do  theirs as well.

“I hope that they know I’ll work hard, that I’ll put everything that I have in there and will get to my points and that I’ll defend until I can’t defend anymore and run until I can’t run anymore.

“It’s cool being in New South Wales. We (won in Sydney) in Game I last year and no one backs us, we’re always the underdog, which is fine. I like that.

“Having the sold out crowd, it’s still a win for us as well. Even if they may be booing us, that’s fine, it’s still noise.

“I’ll just change it in my head from boos to woos. It will make it sweeter and gives us that drive to go, ‘hey, look, this is us, we’ve got this'.”

Main image: Jessika Elliston. Photo: Gaby Barns/QRL

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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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