A Maitland Pickers quartet will attempt to break a long standing State of Origin drought this weekend.
Bec Young, Julie Young, Candice Clay and Eunice Grimes will line up for the NSW women’s team at Penrith Stadium on Saturday afternoon trying to prevent Queensland from claiming their 11th consecutive Interstate Challenge.
The Blues haven’t tasted victory in the annual women’s rugby league showpiece since 2001 and the Pickers crew are determined to buck the trend.
“New South Wales haven’t won it for 11 years so it has been a long time between drinks,” NSW prop, Pickers captain and Australian representative Bec Young said. “Fingers crossed we can turn it around this year.”
Only nine players, including the four Pickers, survive from last year’s 24-0 loss and they are joined by another nine debutants under the guidance of coach Mark Riddell.
The squad went into camp yesterday and Bec Young said this was already paying dividends.
“We are in the bush out the back of Penrith somewhere but the vibe is great and the girls have already gelled,” she said.
“We got in this morning [Wednesday] and got straight into a community day and helped coach at a high school girls’ gala day.”
The squad will train together today and tomorrow before an easy build up to the game on Saturday.
The match is being played in conjunction with the Women in League round and will lead into the NRL encounter between Penrith and Parramatta.
The women’s Interstate Challenge kicks off at 3pm.
The following day in the Sydney Women’s Metropolitan Rugby League competition the Pickers will be up against Minchinbury at Mount Druitt.
Bec Young will turn from player to mentor in the absence of regular coach and husband Mick Young while fellow prop Grimes is also more than likely to miss the match.
Bec’s sister-in-law and fellow Australian representative Julie Young will back up for the third-placed Pickers in the round nine fixture along with Candice Clay. Kick-off is noon.