State of Origin: Isabelle Kelly named for NSW alongside Bec Young, and bolters Holli Wheeler and Hannah Southwell for 2018 interstate challenge

BLEEDING BLUE: Isabelle Kelly has been named in the centres for the upcoming interstate challenge. Picture: Sylvia Liber
BLEEDING BLUE: Isabelle Kelly has been named in the centres for the upcoming interstate challenge. Picture: Sylvia Liber

FOUR Newcastle women have been named in New South Wales’ team list for State of Origin on June 22, including returning stars Isabelle Kelly and Bec Young.

It’s a mix of veteran talent and rising stars among the CRL Newcastle representatives, with bolters Holli Wheeler and Hannah Southwell joining the two state veterans.

It’s also a winning formula for the Hunter products, after all four of them were involved in NSW Country’s 16-12 victory in the National Championships just over a week ago.

Although NSW are the defending challenge champions, and have strung together two victories in the past two years, a ‘winning factor’ will still be key for the side – Queensland recorded seventeen straight interstate titles from 1999 to 2014, stopped only by a drawn challenge in 2015.

NSW have won the previous two interstate challenges under Cross, but before that it was all the Maroons with an incredible 17-year dominance.

Newcastle's State of Origin cohort from 2017 - Bec Young (left) and Isabelle Kelly (right) both return, while Caitlin Moran is sidelined with an ACL injury.

Newcastle's State of Origin cohort from 2017 - Bec Young (left) and Isabelle Kelly (right) both return, while Caitlin Moran is sidelined with an ACL injury.

A notable absence on the team list is Newcastle’s star halfback Caitlin Moran, who has been ruled out due to a ruptured ACL.

Moran, who makes up one half of the Jillaroos’ halves combination, relocated to Queensland to join the Brisbane Broncos for their opening womens premiership campaign, but the ACL injury felled her NRLW – and now State of Origin – hopes.

The interstate challenge will be played on North Sydney Oval on Friday, June 22. Kick-off will be approximately 7.40pm.

TEAM LIST: Sam Bremner, Taleena Simon, Corban McGregor, Isabelle Kelly, Nakia Davis-Welsh, Lavina O’Mealey, Maddison Studdon (c), Elianna Walton (vc), Rebecca Riley, Simaima Taufa, Talesha Quinn, Kezie Apps, Vanessa Foliaki; Bench: Nita Maynard, Rebecca Young, Holli Wheeler, Hannah Southwell.

This story Kelly leads Hunter cohort into State of Origin first appeared on The Star.