Kylie Hilder and Holli Wheeler celebrate National Championships win with NSW Country

On the attack: NSW Country second rower Holli Wheeler takes a hit up against City. She featured in all three games for the side, including the final. Photo: Country Rugby League.
On the attack: NSW Country second rower Holli Wheeler takes a hit up against City. She featured in all three games for the side, including the final. Photo: Country Rugby League.

Methodical is one way to describe NSW Country’s performance in the 2018 Women’s National Championships.

The side claimed a hard fought 16-12 win over arch-rivals NSW City in the final to win the title.

One of the key leaders in the side brimming with national talent was Forster’s Kylie Hilder.

Kylie played dummy half in the side’s opening clashes with the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Queensland City.

The side produced a comfortable 34-10 win over ADF before a hard fought 16-6 win over City the next day.

"That was one of the most physical games of rugby league I've played in a long time," Kylie said of the latter game.

It was in this game that injury struck.

“I injured my knee but was able to finish the game.

“It blew up which ruled me out of the final.

"I guess that's what happens when you play a contact sport,” Kylie said.

Kylie wasn’t the only one to miss the final as national standouts Kezie Apps and Ruan Sims also suffered injuries.

"The younger girls really stood up when Kezie and Ruan went down,” Kylie said.

"I made sure I was still there to cheer them on."

Kylie heaped praise on Old Bar Pirate and NSW Country second rower Holli Wheeler.

"Holli was solid,” Kylie said. 

"She got to play in all three games and did the job that she was required.”

Kylie added that the national championships highlighted the quality of the women’s rugby league talent pool across the country.

"The talent across all six teams was unbelievable,” Kylie said.

"It really puts the game in a good position.”

Coach Matt Parish told Country Rugby League that the efforts of Kylie among others were “sensational”.

“I can’t give Ruan Sims, Sam Bremner, Kylie Hilder and Kezie Apps enough praise; the way they led the team was outstanding,” he said.

Kylie remains hopeful of being selected in the first stand alone Women’s State of Origin match later this month.

“There are a lot of women in contention that are under an injury cloud,” Kylie added.