Kylie Hilder's ambition is to eventually take on a head coaching role in the NRL Women's competition.
Hilder, 43, formerly of Taree and now living in Forster, takes another step to achieving that goal when she coaches the Sydney Roosters team in the NRLW nines to be played in Perth on Friday and Saturday.
"It's been good, fantastic really," Hilder said of the preparation.
"I've been working closely with the coaches of the men's team, Matt King and Nathan Cayless, and I'm learning heaps."
The Roosters open their campaign against New Zealand on Friday before playing Brisbane and St George.
The top two teams will then play in the final on Saturday afternoon.
"We're going over there to have some fun and play some footy," Hilder said.
"I have some really talented girls and we should go well. But it's nines so it's always hard to predict."
Hilder believes St George will be the side to beat.
Old Bar's Holli Wheeler is a member of the St George squad.
Women's nines was added to the tournament this year.
This will be Hilder's first experience as a head coach, although she had an assistant's role with the Roosters last season.
"Ultimately I'd like to coach (in the NRLW)," she declared.
"But I know I'm not ready yet. I've got a lot to learn and I'm just going to absorb everything I can."
Retired from playing, Hilder has a new role with the NSWRL as pathways manager and attended a high performance conference held in Brisbane last weekend.
She'll coach the Central Coast Roosters (formerly CRL Newcastle) in the NSW Women's Premiership this year and will also steer the Emerging Country team at the National Championships to be played on the Gold Coast mid-year.
The Emerging Country side will be selected from the Country Championships to be played in March/April.
Hilder will also have an assistant's role with the Country team for the clash against City. This will be the main selection trial for the NSW State of Origin team.
Hilder played for Country and NSW last year.
She hasn't given herself any time frame to take on a head coaching role in the NRLW.
"It'll be a couple of years yet," she said.
"I'll know when I'm ready."
The same four clubs - the Roosters, St George, Brisbane and New Zealand - will again play in the NRLW competition later this year, although the season will be longer.
Hilder said the NRL is acting prudently by not rushing into expansion.
"There's talk two clubs could be added next year," she said.
"But we can just have expansion for the sake of it - we need to have the depth of players or the standard will drop. That's what we're working on now."
Hilder admits she's "a bit nervous" about her coaching debut this weekend.
"But it's going to be exciting. I can't wait," she added.
One of the greats of Australian touch football, Hilder would have been a sensation in the free flowing nines game in her prime.
"There's a bit of a rumour that I'm taking my boots and that I'll be a captain-coach," she laughed.
"But that's not happening. We have a good team and they won't need me."
However, if time allows she hasn't ruled out having a run in the Group Three league tag with the Forster-Tuncurry Hawks this season.
"You never say never," she said.
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