Women’s State of Origin 2022: NSW assistant coach Jamie Soward sidelined with Covid

The NSW women’s Origin team were given a scare after assistant coach Jamie Soward tested positive to Covid ahead their big match against the Maroons in Canberra.

NSW has had a Covid scare rip through its camp with women’s assistant coach Jamie Soward forced to isolate ahead of Friday night’s Origin game in Canberra.

The scare has forced a last-minute decision on a replacement coach and every player had to undergo testing.

Soward, who coaches the St George Illawarra Dragons NRLW side, tested positive less than 24 hours before the squad were due to enter camp.

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Blues assistant coach Jamie Soward has tested positive to Covid.
Blues assistant coach Jamie Soward has tested positive to Covid.

It is understood the former NSW State of Origin and Indigenous All-Stars representative tested positive on Thursday.

Soward’s last interaction with the NSW players was on Tuesday, June 7, at the squad’s final pre-camp training session at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence.

NSW is out avenge last year’s loss to Queensland and their side boasts dual Dally M medallists — Millie Boyle and Emma Tonegato.

Tonegato will be the Blues fullback, while Boyle lines up at prop.

A Blue spokesperson told News Corp that protocols were followed with Soward and all coaching staff and players being tested. No one else has returned a positive test.

Soward’s role as assistant coach has been taken by Kate Mullaly, who will join assistant coach Ruan Sims and head coach Kylie Hidler in what will be the first time three female coaches have led a State of Origin side.

Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder has had to make a late change to her coaching team. Picture: Jonathan Ng
Sky Blues coach Kylie Hilder has had to make a late change to her coaching team. Picture: Jonathan Ng

Mullaly arrived at the Sky Blues camp this week and took over Soward’s responsibilities with the team. The NSW City Under 19s Women’s National Championship coach is also the West Tigers’ education officer and assistant NRLW coach for the Parramatta Eels.

Friday’s game is a stand-alone Origin match and will be played at Canberra’s GIO Stadium, kick-off is 7.45pm. The match will be shown on Nine (Brisbane/Sydney); GEM (Melbourne/Adelaide/Perth), Fox League and Kayo.

Originally published as Women’s State of Origin 2022: NSW assistant coach Jamie Soward sidelined with Covid