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'I just felt comfortable kissing my girlfriend' - female league players at centre of viral after-match kiss photo break silence

The two female rugby league players who were captured kissing after the women's State of Origin match have finally broken their silence on the online reaction to the shared image.

Karina Brown and Vanessa Foliaki were snapped in an embrace after New South Wales beat the Maroons in June - an image the NRL later posted on social media.

Brown and Foliaki said it was a normal reaction for them.

"I live with Vanessa, so I see her every single day and kiss her every single day,” Brown said in an article written for Players Voice

"Seven days without her — me in Queensland camp, her with NSW — was a long time.

"It's funny, because that's just a normal moment for Ness and I, and for our friends and family. I feel really fortunate to have been born in a time where I could do that; be myself and not have to worry about who was watching me. I just felt comfortable kissing my girlfriend.

"Origin is a tough, emotional time for us. We’re both passionate about our states and we take it very seriously. I was Queensland captain this year.

"To barely speak for a whole week, to have nearly a hatred for each other — purely in terms of the state we’re playing for — it takes a toll.

"So, to finally see her afterwards was very emotional. I was really proud of her achievement, winning the first official women’s State of Origin game, even though it came at my side’s expense. It’s a funny set of feelings to process."

There was mostly positive responses on social media to the image but the NRL was quick to shut down people who viewed it negatively.

"Welcome to 2018 … can’t wait for you to join us!" it wrote to a number of negative fans.

"If we can post a photo of Cooper Cronk and his wife Tara kissing, then we can share a photo of Karina Brown and Ness Foliaki sharing a moment too," the NRL replied to another.

Brown said she was happy the world saw the picture, even with the negative responses.

"I think it was good for the world to see, to show how far we’ve come as a society. Yet also to show that we’ve still got some way to go. Not all the feedback was positive.

"For some people, it’s still a shock. I guess the more we can get it out there, that it’s OK to be who you are, it won’t be a shock anymore. It’ll just be normal. It is normal.

"I look forward to the day where my moment with Vanessa is just a regular post-match photo. And I don’t think we’re far off it."

NSW Blues player Vanessa Foliaki kisses her partner Queensland player Karina Brown after women's State of Origin match.
NSW Blues player Vanessa Foliaki kisses her partner Queensland player Karina Brown after women's State of Origin match.


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