Player ratings: ‘Past it’ Maroons legend exposed

In front of a record crowd in enemy territory at Suncorp Stadium, the NSW Sky Blues did what few gave them a chance to do ahead of the women’s State of Origin series opener – win.

The Maroons looked dangerous late in the clash, and had Emma Manzelmann not fumbled a chance literally over the line, the comeback might have been on.

Alas, it is the Maroons who will go to Newcastle with all the work to do to keep the series alive.

RECAP: ‘Two steps behind’: Where the Maroons lost Origin opener

READ MORE: ‘Relentless’ Sky Blues claim Origin opener

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Wide World of Sports’ The Mole has pulled no punches in assessing all 34 players who took the field for Origin I.

QUEENSLAND MAROONS

1. Tamika Upton – 7

She will be disappointed with a terrible missed tackle on Jaime Chapman that led to an early Blues try, but made amends by scoring the Maroons’ first try midway through the second half.

2. Julia Robinson – 7

One of the few Maroons to play close to her best, she ran the ball freely but got few chances.

3. Shenae Ciesiolka – 3

Barely sighted in attack – only four runs for 14 metres as the Blues easily won the battle out wide.

4. Evania Pelite – 5

She worried the Blues when she got space and time, but it didn’t happen often enough for the Maroons.

5. Emily Bass – 4

Had a tough night in defence opposite Jaime Chapman but finished with a late try from a kick.

6. Tarryn Aiken – 5

Found herself targeted by the Blues in defence, and she didn’t handle it well. Also looked nervous with the ball, but did produce a late try with a kick.

7. Zahara Temara – 4

As halfback and playmaker, Temara didn’t get involved in the game enough or take on the Blues line with the ball. 

8. Shannon Mato – 7

Made the most metres by any Queensland forward and took the battle to the Blues up front.

9. Destiny Brill – 4

Not creative enough at hooker, content to just shovel the ball out from dummy-half, and made only four runs.

10. Jessika Elliston – 6

Tried hard to get her team going forward, but was out-gunned by the more enthusiastic Blues forwards.

11. Tazmin Rapana – 6

Looked dangerous with the ball a few times but couldn’t quite break through the well-disciplined blue wall.

12. Romy Teitzel – 5

Ran strongly out wide but had few chances to use her size and speed with the ball.

Watch the 2024 Women’s State of Origin series on Nine and 9Now.

13. Ali Brigginshaw – 4

Has been a great player, but at 34 looked as though the game had gone past her. Did little in attack and missed six tackles.

14. Emma Manzelmann – 5

Came within a whisker of scoring a try when she came off the bench, but great NSW defence saw her lose the ball over the line. Could have really sparked the fightback.

20. Makenzie Weale – 3

Got less than 20 minutes of game time and could do little to turn the tide at that late stage.

16. Sophie Holyman – 5

Lifted the Maroons a little when given her chance from the bench, but not enough.

17. Lauren Brown – 6

Easily the pick of the Queensland bench, proving a real livewire out of dummy-half. She needs more than 18 minutes of game time in Newcastle.

NSW SKY BLUES

1. Emma Tonegato – 8

Was on the spot to back up a Johnston break to score the first try after just seven minutes, and was safe under Queensland’s kick pressure.

2. Jaime Chapman – 8.5

Scored one of the great Origin tries – men’s or women’s – with a monster 85 metre solo run that saw her beat half the Queensland team.

3. Jessica Sergis – 6

Made one line break but otherwise pretty well contained by the Maroons defence.

4. Isabelle Kelly – 6

Ran the ball with plenty of power out wide, and hurt the Maroons with a line break and six tackle breaks. 

5. Tiana Penitani – 6

Put under plenty of pressure by the Maroons, especially in the first half, but was safe throughout.

6. Corban Baxter – 5

Was content to give her outside players the ball with time and space, but could take the line on herself more next time.

7. Rachael Pearson – 7

Made a few telling runs but her kicking game was her real strength and it kept the Maroons under intense pressure.

8. Millie Elliott – 7.5

Strong up front – ran over 100 metres as the Blues’ forwards got on a roll and laid the platform for victory.

9. Olivia Higgins – 7

A smart worker from dummy-half, highlighted by the inside pass for Johnston’s try that sealed victory.

10. Caitlan Johnston – 9

It was easy to forget she’s a front rower when Johnston burst through the Maroons defence to create the first try for fullback Emma Tonegato. She also scored the try that sealed victory.

11. Kezie Apps – 5

Targeted as a danger player by the Maroons and was well marked, having little impact as a result.

12. Yasmin Clydsdale – 7.5

A busy game in the second row, running with real purpose and making plenty of dents in the Maroons’ line. Was the official Player of the Match.

15. Olivia Kernick – 8.5

Justified her late selection in the Blues’ starting side by throwing a wonderful pass to create the opening try. Also made more run metres than any player.

13. Keeley Davis – 5

Didn’t seem to like her late benching, but did little in her 43 minutes of game time.

14. Taliah Fuimaono – 6.5

Lifted the Blues when she came onto the field with some big hits in defence and a couple of handy runs when the team needed them.

16. Grace Kemp – 5

Only got 20 minutes from the bench in her Origin debut, but showed some nice touches and will get more game time in Newcastle.

17. Sarah Togatuki – 2

Played a mere six minutes so had little chance to make an impact, but didn’t make any errors. 

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