State of Origin: Port Macquarie's Jessica McIlveen enjoys experience despite not making final of Face of Origin contest

Jessica McIlveen bowed out of the Face of Origin contest in Brisbane on Wednesday night. Photo: supplied

Jessica McIlveen bowed out of the Face of Origin contest in Brisbane on Wednesday night. Photo: supplied

PORT Macquarie’s Jessica McIlveen was hopeful New South Wales could claim two rare State of Origin victories on Wednesday night in Brisbane.

Unfortunately for both McIlveen and the Blues, Queensland proved a little too good in both events.

The first was meant to be at Suncorp Stadium as the Blues aimed to secure just their second series win since 2006.

The second was a 30-minute drive north of the stadium, as McIlveen and 23 others vied for the Face of Origin title at Bracken Ridge Tavern.

Face of Origin is a model search that aims to find a young woman with a fresh face who loves her footy and state - everything that is State Of Origin.

Unfortunately it wasn’t to be for either McIlveen or the Blues as the Maroons won the series and McIlveen didn’t progress to the final.

“I didn’t place but I still had a good night,” she said.

The talented 26-year-old still finds rugby league enjoyable to watch.

Despite a busy lifestyle, the local model, barista and make-up artist still finds the time to head down to the park to watch her local club.

McIlveen is involved with the Lake Cathie-Port Macquarie Boardriders club in the Hastings League.

“I time keep and take photos and help out when I can in general,” she said.

While acknowledging the Boardriders had had a difficult season to date which sees them occupying the bottom rung of the ladder, she can see positives in the future of the club.

“They’re a combined Port and Lake Cathie team this year so they haven’t had time to gel as a team,” she said.

McIlveen has followed rugby league for as long as she can remember and puts it down to her grandfather’s influence.

She grew up in southern Sydney which meant the Cronulla Sharks were her team from a young age.

“I’m from Cronulla, so I follow the Sharks, but I also support the Bulldogs because my grandfather goes for them,” she said.

“I was so excited last year when Cronulla won the grand final, it was the best year ever.

“I love seeing good tackles and when someone gets a break off the scrum and score a try under the posts – that is my kind of try.”

McIlveen attended a State of Origin match a couple of years ago when New South Wales last won a series.

They will now have to wait 12 months for another shot at claiming the shield.

The Face of Origin heats were on at the same time as the decider, so the model only got to see brief moments of the game.

“From what I got to see it was a difficult game,” she said.

I was so excited last year when Cronulla won the grand final.

Jessica McIlveen