The motivation will be the same but preparation very different as the Maroons and Sky Blues head into the historic three-game women's State of Origin series.
The BMD Premiership will act as the perfect hit-out for the Queenslanders with players gearing up for the competition to begin on March 2 and the final round of the regular season scheduled a week before the series opener in Brisbane.
Meanwhile, a decision to move the Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership back to July to act as a reserve grade competition could greatly benefit the NRLW but leaves the NSW girls without the chance to get some matches under their belt before May.
Sky Blues star Tiana Penitani said the change of structure to the state-based competition leaves the NSW women in unfamiliar territory but the Cronulla captain is assured a pre-camp program is being put in place to begin preparations.
“It's kind of territory that we’ve never really had to navigate before without the domestic-based competition,” Penitani told NRL.com.
“So we’re just taking it step by step but I know that there’s some big plans with the Blues squad to have a development program in the months leading up to State of Origin.
Perfect start for Penitani
“So they’re all over it and that’s been communicated to us as well - we’re just keeping fit and getting ready for that to hopefully kick off in a couple of weeks.
“I know Origin is something we’re all thinking about. It’s obviously before the NRLW season so it’s the next big thing for some of us.”
Several Sky Blues have decided to join the BMD competition with Newcastle sisters Hannah and Jesse Southwell signing with the Rockhampton Capras and veteran forward Kezie Apps heading to the Western Clydesdales.
It will be almost seven months between matches for Penitani from her Test appearance for Tonga and the Origin opener on May 16 in Brisbane, but the Jillaroo is confident a guided training schedule will have the Sky Blues ready for the rigours of a three-game series.
“There’s a handful of players from NSW that are going to go up and play in the Queensland competition but for me personally, nothing really changes in terms of training and preparation,” she said.
“I know that I can speak on behalf of all the girls that will be in the Blues squad. We just keep training full-time, essentially our weeks look like four, five days in the gym and probably four days on the field.”
Meanwhile, Maroons coach Tahnee Norris believes the addition of some of NSW's biggest stars to the BMD competition could come as a great advantage for Queensland’s preparation.
After last year’s error-riddled series opener was put down to a lack of recent game time for both sides, Norris believes an earlier State of Origin schedule and a stronger state competition will have the players better prepared in 2024.
“I think they will be prepared, especially our Queensland girls. They are going to be playing in some top quality games in that BMD competition with the standard of players that are in there,” Norris told NRL.com.
“The addition of the NSW girls is going to help us because they’re going to be better prepared, if you’ve got six or even NRLW players in each of those teams and some of them have even got more then of course it’s going to be a quality competition.
"They’re going to be playing some really fast games leading up to the competition and that’s exactly what we need to prepare.”
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