A Kiwi-born league star has been captured in an iconic photograph kissing her opponent, and long-term partner, after the inaugural women's State of Origin match in Sydney on Friday night.

After the final whistle, Auckland-born New South Wales player Vanessa Foliaki embraced and kissed her partner, Maroons star Karina Brown.

The intimate image was posted on the official NRL Facebook page, with the hashtag #OurWay.

It sparked thousands of reactions and a flurry of more than 3200 comments.


While most were positive, the NRL hit back at negative jibes.

"There would be public outrage if two blokes kissed exactly like that after an Origin," one Facebook user wrote.

The NRL responded by saying, "Welcome to 2018... Can't wait for you to join us!"

Foliaki grew up in Mangere playing rugby union and dreaming of becoming a Black Fern.

The former Onehunga High School star moved to Sydney in 2010 to pursue her rugby league dreams.

A family member in Auckland told the Herald last night: "We are all very proud of her."

On social media, Foliaki describes herself as a "Kiwi living in OZ" who supports the All Blacks.

Last week, the NRL published a feature about the "rock-solid couple" who have been in a relationship for four years.

They started seeing each other in 2014 after being selected for the Australian national women's rugby league team, the Jillaroos.

Since then, they've had to deal with competing on the field during representative fixtures.

Brown said Foliaki can be ruthless during State of Origin week.

"She would block my number, that's how serious it would get," Brown told NRL.com.

"I'm hoping this year I get maybe a little bit of love ... [maybe] one message."

Foliaki admitted that when she's in NSW camp, she's focused on the job.

"Karina is messaging me, and I'm like 'she's a Queenslander', and I put my phone away. She's a Queenslander and I want to beat her."

The pair say both the rugby league community and their families are supportive of their relationship.

"Everyone wants us to get married," Foliaki said.

"Being a part of the Jillaroos and how open everyone was to our relationship helped a lot.

"I think it's more accepted now and the Jillaroos make it feel like home. The coaching staff are supportive. We're feeling all the love."