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Canberra Today 5°/7° | Friday, July 1, 2022 | Digital Edition | Crossword & Sudoku

No friendships when Millie gets to the footy field 

Blues prop Millie Boyle… “To have Origin in a different place is really special, especially somewhere like Canberra where they are mostly pretty keen NSW supporters.”

WHEN GIO Stadium hosts the Women’s State of Origin fixture next week it will be the first time the match has been held in Canberra, and the first time it has been held outside of Queensland and NSW, in a neutral venue.

Simon Anderson.

Blues prop Millie Boyle couldn’t be more at home playing in Canberra though.

The reigning Dally M medallist grew up on the NSW south coast with Canberra as her nearest major city.

“I moved to Canberra when I finished school,” Boyle told “CityNews”.

“I have recently moved back to the city from Queensland this year with my boyfriend Adam, who is at the Raiders.

“It is pretty special for me that the game is in Canberra. I have a lot of family in the city and the surrounding areas and I am excited to play there.”

Boyle is hopeful the Canberra fixture will work in her team’s favour, having to contend with an away crowd for the last two Origins in 2021 and 2020.

“We haven’t been successful in winning the shield back since the matches went to Queensland,” said Boyle.

“I think having it in Canberra will be good, especially for those people who want to come and support footy from regional areas.

“To have Origin in a different place is really special, especially somewhere like Canberra where they are mostly pretty keen NSW supporters.”

Unlike the men’s series, the women’s Origin is a standalone fixture. 

While it was announced earlier this year that the series will expand to two matches in 2023, Boyle would like to play three matches like the men.

“I think we have gone past one game now and we definitely need a series, and by series I mean three games,” said Boyle.

“I don’t see how two games benefits in any way. If we win one and Queensland wins the other and you finish tied – you may as well just stay at one game in that case.

“The staff put so much effort into getting combinations right, coaching different structures and you put so much into the prep, but we don’t really ever get to reflect on an Origin game because once it is done, it is done and that team will never be the same.

“You might have different coaching staff, different players, different spine and you can’t really lift to another level after playing one game. It is just ‘one and done’ whether you win or lose.

“To have that second, and hopefully third game will be really beneficial for the players and the people watching as well.”

The one-off fixture has meant the Sky Blues have had to wait 12 months to make amends for their heartbreaking, last-minute loss to Queensland in 2021.

After being in an arm wrestle for much of the match, NSW gave away a last-minute penalty in front of the posts. Queensland centre Lauren Brown slotted a penalty goal, and the Maroons went on to win the gripping contest 8-6.

“It was disappointing going down like that, but a loss is a loss whether you lose by two or you lose by 20 – you still lose,” said Boyle.

“The fact that you don’t get to do anything about that, and there are a lot of hurdles to cross in between each game is tough.”

Before making the move to Canberra, Boyle’s time in Queensland was spent playing with the Broncos in the NRLW where she became a two-time premiership winner, and developed her reputation as one of the best players in the women’s game.

The old State of Origin adage “state against state, mate against mate” will ring true for Boyle when she runs out against many of her former Brisbane teammates who will be representing Queensland next week.

“I have played with most of the Queensland girls before, not only at the Broncos but also with my club team the Burleigh Bears,” said Boyle.

“I was playing with my housemate Tamika (Upton) at the Broncos. We will play against each other for Origin and have both signed together at the Knights for next season.

“That is just how it is, and at the end of the day I love to win and, whatever team I am in, I want to represent to the best of my ability.
“There is no friendship once you get to the footy field, especially Origin.”

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