NSW triumph in Women's Interstate Challenge
Winger Jessica Sergis scored a hat-trick on her NSW debut as the Blues made it back-to-back wins in the Women's Interstate Challenge with a comfortable 22-6 victory at WIN Stadium.
After 17 years of heartbreak, the Blues are on the verge of starting their own dynasty with Sunday's result backing up last season's drought-breaking win in enemy territory to retain the Nellie Doherty Cup.
The tone was set early when Blues skipper Ruan Sims destroyed Queensland counterpart Karina Brown with a monstrous one-on-one shot in the first half while Kezie Apps celebrated her return to the representative scene with several offloads and plenty of tough carries on the left edge.
In another positive sign for the women's game, the eastern hill was virtually full as thousands flocked in to enjoy a high-quality contest between 34 players desperate to stake their claim ahead of the end-of-year World Cup.
One player who could be in doubt is Jillaroos fullback Sam Bremner after she was helped from the field early in the second half with what appeared to be a lower-leg injury, but in a somewhat positive sign the attacking weapon remained on the sideline to cheer on her teammates until the very end.
Queensland set the pace early and looked odds on to score inside the opening three minutes through Heather Ballinger only for Bremner to produce a stunning try-saving tackle.
It didn't take long for the hosts to click into gear when Isabelle Kelly made a clean break down the left edge to put them on the attack, before Bremner took advantage of a backwards kick from Caitlin Moran to hit Jessica Sergis with a cut-out pass to open the scoring.
Sensing a weakness down Queensland's right edge, NSW continued to send plenty of traffic down that flank with Apps and Nakia Davis-Welsh each making huge inroads; the latter leading to another try to Sergis when Maddie Studdon kicked for her winger with the Blues boasting an eight-woman overlap.
Just when it looked like the Blues would run away with it, the visitors got the all-important hit back when Steph Hancock turned Jenni-Sue Hoepper under to get Queensland on the board.
The injury setback to Bremner could have rattled the home side but instead it only spurred them on as NSW moved further in front in the 52nd minute when Studdon's golden boot picked out Corban McGregor to make it 14-6.
The good times kept rolling for the Blues when Vanessa Foliaki latched onto a Matt Gidley-like flick from Caitlin Moran to cross in the corner to push the lead out to two converted tries before Sergis finished off a backline shift to complete her hat-trick.
NSW 22 (Jessica Sergis 3, Corban McGregor, Vanessa Foliaki tries; Caitlin Moran 1 goal) def. Queensland 6 (Jenni-Sue Hoepper try; Chelsea Baker 1 goal) at WIN Stadium. Half-time: 10-6