Sisters Natalia and Brianna O'Toole. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Sisters Natalia and Brianna O'Toole. Picture: Zak Simmonds

Meet the women behind our Maroons

A beauty queen, fitness trainer sisters, a nutritionist, an artist, a photographer and business owners who are caring for 16 children between them - they're a group of strong women standing behind the new-look Maroons team.

With the team in camp on the Gold Coast, their partners and families are manning forts back home and preparing to descend on Melbourne early next week.

 

Josh McGuire's wife Tanyssa with their children Maiya and Maxon. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning
Josh McGuire's wife Tanyssa with their children Maiya and Maxon. Picture: AAP Image/Josh Woning

 

Photographer Tanyssa McGuire, who will enjoy a girls trip with daughter Maiya, 4, while Maxon, 2, watches from Brisbane, promises the support will be "vocal" in the stands of the MCG on Wednesday.

"We are all very passionate. I'm usually a quiet person but I do get vocal. We all sit in the same area, the kids find each other and play among the seats, it's a great atmosphere," she said.

Tanyssa's husband Josh McGuire who she says eats cereal, specifically Crunchy Nut, before every game - has been fighting to be fit for the series, using an ice machine on his ankle for 1.5 hours each night since his round 8 injury.

 

Maroons prop Jarrod Wallace’s girlfriend, former Miss World Australia Courtney Thorpe. Picture: Tara Croser.
Maroons prop Jarrod Wallace’s girlfriend, former Miss World Australia Courtney Thorpe. Picture: Tara Croser.

 

"We were at home and he was in bed icing his leg and he got the phone call from Kevvie (coach Kevin Walters). All afternoon he was waiting for it," she said. "He's had that in his sights and he's been so focused on it."

Former Miss World Australia Courtney Thorpe will also make the trip down south with boyfriend Jarrod Wallace's two young daughters.

 

Billy Slater’s wife Nicole with their children Jake, 7 and Tyla, 8. Picture: John Feder
Billy Slater’s wife Nicole with their children Jake, 7 and Tyla, 8. Picture: John Feder

 

It is a welcome change from last series, during which she admits she was sneaking in and out of Origin camp, not taking their relationship public until August.

"It was a bit secret at that stage. I watched game 2 at home because we had only just started dating and game 3 I sat with his family but just didn't advertise the fact," Thorpe said.

"It is very nice not to have to sneak in an out."

 

Sisters Natalia and Brianna O'Toole, partners of Valentine Holmes and Michael Morgan. Picture: Zak Simmonds
Sisters Natalia and Brianna O'Toole, partners of Valentine Holmes and Michael Morgan. Picture: Zak Simmonds

 

There's also a family connection in the team, with Townsville sisters Natalia and Brianna O'Toole in relationships with Valentine Holmes and Michael Morgan respectively.

The foursome spent Christmas together in Tokyo after Morgan popped the question to Brianna who co-owns bootcamp MINOMA with her sister.

"I'm heading to the game but my sister is in Portugal so she won't be there," said Natalia, who lives in Sydney with Holmes. "Regardless of where I live, I'm always a Queenslander."

 

Coen Hess’s girlfriend Taylor Brunton. Picture: @taylorbrunton
Coen Hess’s girlfriend Taylor Brunton. Picture: @taylorbrunton

 

Bridget Hunt married Maroons halfback Ben Hunt in the off-season. Picture: Jamie Hanson
Bridget Hunt married Maroons halfback Ben Hunt in the off-season. Picture: Jamie Hanson

 

Artist Nicole Slater, Billy's wife, said she was feeling like an old hand with all the young couples, saying her two children had been "frequent flyers since birth".

While Nicole usually watches games with close friend Lincoln Lewis - they have a long-running Mario Kart contest - this year she will watch with Lincoln's mum Jackie (Wally's wife) who is flying into Melbourne for a visit.

The game will also be a reunion for nutritionist Bridget Hunt and Carlie McCullough, who married their respective partners and close friends, Ben Hunt and Andrew McCullough in Byron Bay during the off season.

 

Andrew McCullough’s wife Carlie. Picture: AAP Image/Steve Pohlner
Andrew McCullough’s wife Carlie. Picture: AAP Image/Steve Pohlner

 

However, not all the young stars are off the market. Origin debutant Jai Arrow, 22, is Queensland's new eligible bachelor.

The Gold Coast Titans forward, dog-lover and surfer is one of the youngest members on the team, earmarked as one of Origin's future stars. Dylan Napa is also flying solo.

Other partners include business student Kelly Turner who is Dane Gagai's partner, Will Chambers' wife Bianca who owns a clothing store, Gavin Cooper's wife Tenille who has launched a kids' fitness program and 21-year-old Taylor Brunton who is Coen Hess's girlfriend.



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