Friday’s Women’s State of Origin rugby league game between the Queensland Maroons and the New South Wales Blues marked the second time the two states had faced off in this new rivalry match, and the first time across all of women’s sports that GPS-based statistics had been live broadcast to fans watching at home.
Catapult Sports, the National Rugby League, and Australia’s Channel Nine have been providing live GPS data for the Men’s State of Origin series since 2017. The men’s three-game series dates back to 1982. The rivalry between New South Wales and Queensland has grown to encompass not only the women’s games, but a range of youth and lower level contests pitting state against state, too.
“Our mantra refers to the same game,” said Tiffany Slater, NRL general manager of the Women’s Elite Program, in a statement about the collaboration with Catapult. “It’s fantastic to have high-tech devices available for our elite female athletes and coaches, providing real-time performance, data and results to coaches and fans alike.”
New South Wales trailed Queensland 0-4 in the first half, but came back to win the game 14-4. Both teams wore Catapult GPS devices that tracked position, and that data was used to provide metrics to the audience such as speed and distance covered, and to track effort and intensity on the field. Blues halfback Maddie Studdon topped the table of distance over the game, covering 3,032 meters. Her teammate Jessica Sergis hit the top speed in the contest, recording 29.4 kilometers per hour (18.3 mph).
“The partnership with the Women’s State of Origin series shows a turning point in the integration of sports science and fan engagement for the women’s game,” said Nicole Pensko, Catapult’s head of Australia and New Zealand partnerships, in a statement. “Through providing live player performance data, we can contribute to the well-deserved exposure the women’s teams are receiving, and we were pleased to be able to play a significant part in this innovation.”