Rockhampton's Tamika Upton at the Maroons captain's run at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Photo: Nathan Hopkins/NRL Images
Rockhampton's Tamika Upton at the Maroons captain's run at Sunshine Coast Stadium. Photo: Nathan Hopkins/NRL Images

CQ family all fired up for fullback’s Origin debut

ROCKHAMPTON’S Tamika Upton will have her own personal cheer squad on hand when she debuts in tonight’s history-making Harvey Norman Women’s State of Origin.

Her mum Tracy, dad Cameron, brother Koby and sister Lorri, as well as several of her cousins, will be part of the sell-out crowd at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

More than 4800 people will attend the first women’s Origin to be played in Queensland, while another 800,000 are expected to tune into the broadcast of the match.

Queensland will look to capitalise on their home ground advantage, after having lost the first two matches played under the Origin format.

They are coached by Central Queensland league legend Jason Hetherington, who is in his third year at the helm.

Queensland women's coach Jason Hetherington. Picture: NRL Photos
Queensland women's coach Jason Hetherington. Picture: NRL Photos

The interstate clash will be refereed by Rockhampton’s Belinda Sharpe, who also officiated in the NRLW grand final.

Tracy said it would be an exciting night for Tamika, who will line up at fullback in a quality Maroons outfit.

READ: Key roles for two of Rocky rugby league’s leading ladies

READ: Rocky star fires for Broncos in NRLW opener

READ: NRLW title caps incredible year for CQ’s rising star

The 23-year-old will be looking to notch up another remarkable achievement in what has already been a stellar 2020.

Tamika was named best player in the Holcim Cup after playing the season with the Souths Logan Magpies.

She then went on to claim her second NRLW premiership, scoring the opening try for the Brisbane Broncos in their 20-10 grand final win over the Sydney Roosters.

She now has her sights set on helping Queensland claim their first Origin victory.

Tracy and the family arrived on the Sunshine Coast late yesterday and are counting down the hours until the 6.45pm kick-off.

“We didn’t get to the grand final due to COVID so we’re all excited to actually watch her play,” she said.

“It’s going to be exciting for her and for us and I know the rest of the family at home will be cheering loud as well.

“We got to go to last year’s NRLW grand final and I had plenty of goosebumps then so it will probably be the same tonight.”

Coach and CQ product Jason Hetherington with the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons squad. Photo: Nathan Hopkins/NRL Images
Coach and CQ product Jason Hetherington with the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons squad. Photo: Nathan Hopkins/NRL Images

Tracy said Tamika’s game had developed since she relocated to the Gold Coast in June to team up with Souths Logan.

“I think she’s learned a lot this year. Her strength and speed have improved, and she’s just getting to know the game better,” she said.

Tamika featured prominently in the NRLW season stats. She was the competition’s leading try-scorer with five, the third highest point scorer, led the linebreaks and was fourth for post contact metres.

Tracy said she would be thrilled if her daughter could help the Maroons to victory.

“We’ve got our fingers crossed. To finish the year with an Origin win would be lovely,” she said.


CQ groups get $150k to build community resilience

Premium Content CQ groups get $150k to build community resilience

Funding goes specifically to cotton-growing communities to assist with recovery...

Why hundreds are lining up to go through hell

Premium Content Why hundreds are lining up to go through hell

‘They’ll be climbing, crawling, slipping, sliding, dodging, diving...’

CQ shire’s hi-tech solution to illegal dumping

Premium Content CQ shire’s hi-tech solution to illegal dumping

The upgrades aim to reduce illegal dumping and costs for the council.