St George Illawarra winger Shakiah Tungai is looking forward to playing more regularly with Maddie Studdon at the Dragons this season after the pair combined to spearhead NSW to a 14-4 triumph over Queensland in Friday night's Origin match at North Sydney Oval.
Studdon, who will move from the Sydney Roosters to St George Illawarra for the upcoming NRLW season, set up a try for Tungai as well as another that was disallowed. Studdon also scored herself to win the Nellie Doherty Medal as player of the match.
With Tungai making her Origin debut for the Blues, it was the first time the duo had played together, but they developed a good combination on the left edge and are excited at the prospect of playing together for the Dragons.
"I definitely am, she has just signed with the Dragons so I am looking forward to that," Tungai said. "I am really excited for her to be at the Dragons this season.
"Obviously we have built a combination here, so it will similar faces there on the left and I am looking forward to it."
After a rollercoaster 12 months in which she was forced to quit her job to captain NSW to victory in last year’s Origin before being dumped from the Roosters for the grand final of the Holden NRLW premiership, Studdon is looking forward to a new challenge with the Dragons.
The former Jillaroos play-maker begun her career with Helensburgh in the Illawarra competition and will have some familiar faces as teammates, including NSW stars Kezie Apps, Jessica Sergis and Tungai.
"That was my first time playing with her, she is a unique player and she has a kick on her too out on the wing," Studdon said.
"She is a very powerful and strong player, and I can't wait to play with her again. She is a good person as well, very down to earth and quiet. She fits into our team really well and I am looking forward to playing with her at the Dragons."
With NSW trailing 4-0 at halftime, Studdon took charge of the game in the second half and almost put Tungai over in the 34th minute with a perfectly weighted grubber into the Maroons in-goal before laying on a try 10 minutes later after feigning to kick and passing outside to centre Isabelle Kelly.
"She had a bloody blinder. She took a lot of control in the second half, which really helped," Tungai said.
"With the first one she put a really good kick behind the line. I was there but it was just unfortunate not to get that ball down.
"With the second one it was a good eyes-up offload. She does that really well so I guess she has the defence in two minds about whether she is going to kick it or pass it."
Sergis scored NSW’s first try in the 39th minute and Studdon all but secured the win, when she dummied and stepped her way over to score 10 minutes from full-time.