Corban Baxter is keen for Women’s Origin to take the focus on Friday night

Corban Baxter and New South Wales
The 2021 New South Wales Origin squad Photo: Women's Rugby League - Twitter

Corban Baxter will play a key role as an experienced player for New South Wales. This experience will be invaluable as NSW look to take the Origin crown back from Queensland. With women’s rugby league on the rise, State of Origin on Friday night will be vital in growing the game.

State of Origin is the pinnacle of women’s rugby league in Australia. Two of the most talented teams in the world come up against each other.

Viewers are in for a great weekend come Friday with the women’s Origin kicking off first, leading into the men’s game on Sunday night.

Along with captain Kezie Apps, Corban Baxter will provide the critical leadership qualities required in a young NSW side.

With endless questions around COVID, it would have been easy for this match never to occur. However, the NRL has been keen on growing the women’s game, and Origin is a massive part of this.

Another critical aspect of this growth is the recent announcement of the NRLW expanding. News that has women’s League fans buzzing.

With Queensland having such a strong player in Tameka Upton, NSW will need to combat her speed.

NSW will look to control the middle and slow the game down.

It will take a monumental effort for NSW to win, considering the home-field advantage the Maroons will be playing with. However, Corban Baxter is confident in the side’s ability.

Corban Baxter spoke to The Inner Sanctum about all things women’s Origin. She believes that this is one of the biggest games of her life.

“I think this game has the most passion out of all of them. It’s one of the biggest rivalries in Australia, and every year I think it’s that one game that all the girls are most excited to be a part of.

The NSW girls train before an intense match on Friday night

With the women’s game growing more and more every year, 27-year-old Baxter plays an important leadership role.

Whilst formerly many women had to give the game up during their teenage years. We are now seeing girls coming through, having played age group League throughout their lives.

Baxter reflected on this and the types of young women coming through the system now.

“The new girls coming through are quite mature for their age, so I see everyone has those leadership qualities coming through.

“It is nice to be in that group and help the younger ones come through, but they bring some great qualities as well and we’re trying to learn from the younger ones as well. It’s a great mix of youth and experience.”

“NRLW girls as young as 18 are able to play. It’s excelling them not only on the field but also giving them lots of leadership experience in their own rights off the field.”

The 27-year-old believes the expansion of the NRLW will allow for more girls to come through the sport.

“It’s gonna be great to see those fresh faces get a go with the big dogs, and I think they’ll hold their own. They’ve held themselves in their respective state competitions.

“It will be great to see those girls fill some spots in the NRLW and push the old girls for representative spots as well.”

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Whilst Baxter loves the job of bringing through these younger players, her main love is playing. Friday night will allow Baxter the opportunity to represent her state on the national stage. She is incredibly thrilled to be on the big stage again.

“I think it’s exciting, it’s going to be a big weekend. The whole of Australia will be excited for lots of good footy on the weekend.

“I know all my mates and family, are excited to watch us first, then back it up with the boys a few days later.”

As this weekend is a bye round for the NRL, the Women’s State of Origin won’t be competing for viewers of Friday night, the 27-year-old appreciated the attention on the women’s game.

“That stand-alone has worked well for us and allowed fans to zone in on us and our game. it’s good to have the attention on us.”

What is most important for New South Wales on Friday night is to get a win. After having given up the trophy in 2020, Baxter is keen to get back to her sides winning ways.

The 27-year-old is focused on controlling what the NSW team can but does has an eye out for a couple of crucial opposition players.

“Our belief is that we play our best if we play as a team. We obviously have some strike power with our outside backs, but we’ve been doing a lot of work in controlling the middle. We’ve got some really great strike power.

“It’s similar for the Queensland girls. We see them all as a quality side, but obviously, some of their rising stars in Tameka Upton and Tarryn Aiken have shown what they can do and are really amazing players.

“We need to keep an eye on them.”

Queensland superstar Tameka Upton with an excellent try for the Broncos

Friday will be the 6th time Baxter pulls on the Sky Blues jersey. Having only lost one game in her Origin career, she wants to get back to those winning ways.

State of Origin is the pinnacle of the sport, and Friday night will be an excellent showcase of skill. With an expanding NRLW, Origin provides an opportunity to grow an already large fan base.

New South Wales will be taking on Queensland live from Sunshine Coast Stadium on Friday, June 25. The kick-off will take place at 7:45 pm.

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About Rory Denis 68 Articles
Rory writes on cricket, rugby league and Aussie Rules for The Inner Sanctum. His focus is cricket, with a focus on analysis recaps and commentary via Twitter. He has also featured on the Over and Stumps podcast on the inner sanctum network. Outside of the Inner Sanctum, he is a law student at the University of Canberra.

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