QLD women’s coach urges players to ‘stay positive and fit’
RUGBY LEAGUE: Queensland women’s coach Jason Hetherington is urging prospective State of Origin players to “stay positive and stay fit”.
Preparations for the interstate clash on June 19 have been turned upside down with the QRL suspending the inaugural BHP Premiership until June 5 in response to COVID-19 fears.
Just one round was played in the statewide women’s competition, which would have allowed members of the eight teams to press claims for state selection.
Legendary Maroons hooker and CQ product Hetherington is still working towards the Origin being played as scheduled on the Sunshine Coast.
“It’s a really big blow, obviously,” he said.
“If we get the go ahead for June 19 they’ve got to be ready to hit the field running.
“The most important thing is for the girls to stay positive and stay fit.
“This is when the real discipline comes into play, when you’re not in that team environment and you’ve got to train on your own and do it yourself.
“You have to keep your skills honed and keep your fitness and strength up.”
Hetherington admitted he might well look to “tried and tested” players if the Origin went ahead as planned.
NSW have won the two games played under the State of Origin banner.
“There’s a lot of girls that deserve to be picked for what they’ve done for Queensland in the last couple of years,” he said.
“We haven’t got the result yet – we’ve been close but not close enough so I think I will have to make a couple of subtle changes.
“But unfortunately we won’t get to see the girls week-in and week-out, who’s been the consistent performer and who’s earnt the right to be picked.
“That’s what I was looking forward to – picking girls on their merits, their efforts and their consistency.
“That’s why it’s so disappointing because I think there were going to be some girls really put their hands up and be noticed.
“They would have learnt a hell of a lot in that two months of competition – playing at that higher level each week, getting some consistency and managing those little niggling injuries.”
Hetherington said it was heartbreaking for everyone involved in the QRLW and for rugby league fans in general who were excited for the competition.
He said even if it had to be rescheduled, the women’s Origin should be played.