Tazmin Rapana, Inspired by Johnathan Thurston, Set to Star for Queensland in State of Origin Opener

Tazmin Rapana, a 28-year-old Queensland second-rower, credits rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston for inspiring her exceptional game sense and ability to control the tempo of the game. Rapana is poised to play a pivotal role for the Maroons in the upcoming State of Origin series opener against New South Wales.

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Bijay Laxmi
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Tazmin Rapana, Inspired by Johnathan Thurston, Set to Star for Queensland in State of Origin Opener

Tazmin Rapana, Inspired by Johnathan Thurston, Set to Star for Queensland in State of Origin Opener

Tazmin Rapana, a 28-year-old Queensland second-rower, is poised to play a pivotal role for the Maroons in the upcoming State of Origin series opener against New South Wales at Suncorp Stadium on May 16, 2024. Rapana, who was the player of the series in Queensland's triumph last year, credits rugby league legend Johnathan Thurston for inspiring her exceptional game sense and ability to control the tempo of the game.

"If I was to look at who I idolised growing up it would be Johnathan Thurston," Rapana told AAP. "I never watched players in the forwards. I just loved how Johnathan played the game and how slow-motion he made the game look." Growing up playing in the halves, Rapana admired Thurston's mastery of tempo and sought to emulate his style. "I always felt like I was running around with my head cut off, so to be able to see JT slow the game down made me realise it was all about tempo."

Rapana's rugby league journey has been shaped by her close-knit family, which includes six brothers and four sisters. Her brother, Jordan Rapana, is a Canberra Raiders great, and she has learned valuable lessons from watching him play and internalizing his approach to the game. "As I have gotten older, I have learned how tempo and speed come into play no matter what position you play," Rapana said. "In my old age, I have learned how to control my body a bit more and get more out of it."

Last year, Rapana's physicality and rugby league IQ were on full display as she played a central role in the Maroons' State of Origin triumph. Her ability to read the game, control the pace, and make crucial plays earned her the prestigious player of the series award. As Queensland prepares to face New South Wales in the highly anticipated series opener, Rapana's presence on the field is expected to be a key factor in the Maroons' game plan.

Tazmin Rapana's journey from a young girl idolizing Johnathan Thurston to becoming a star player for Queensland in the State of Origin series is a testament to her dedication, skill, and the influence of her rugby league family. As she takes the field at Suncorp Stadium on May 16, all eyes will be on the 28-year-old second-rower as she aims to lead the Maroons to victory against their fierce rivals. "Put a footy in my hand and I will run and pass the ball all day but at the end of the day it comes down to who you are playing with," Rapana said, emphasizing the importance of teamwork in the high-stakes battle ahead.

Key Takeaways

  • Tazmin Rapana to play key role for Queensland in State of Origin series opener.
  • Rapana credits Johnathan Thurston for inspiring her game sense and tempo control.
  • Rapana's rugby league IQ and physicality earned her player of the series award last year.
  • She learned valuable lessons from her brother Jordan Rapana, a Canberra Raiders great.
  • Rapana emphasizes teamwork as crucial for Queensland's success in the series.