KYLIE Hilder’s short lived retirement from rugby league came to an end this week following the announcement of an NRL competition to be played over four weeks in 2018.
The NRL also outlined an expanded representative program for next year including City/Country clashes and a stand alone State of Origin.
Hilder, from Forster, is the Country Rugby League’s female participation officer. She turned out for North Newcastle in last season’s NSW Women’s Premiership, the side beaten by Redfern in the grand final. Hilder was also named Country’s player of the match following the inaugural clash against City. She indicated after the grand final that she intended to hang up her boots.
However, events of this week have caused a re-think.
“I’ll be putting my hand up to play again,’’ the 41-year-old said.
“I’ll get into training soon and I’m going to get fit.’’
She said the opportunity to play in an elite competition is just too good to pass up. Hilder will again line-up for North Newcastle and hopes to receive an offer from one of the six NRL clubs involved in the women’s competition at the end of the season. At this stage she has no idea what clubs will be taking part.
The NRL announced on Wedneday plans for a new NRL Women's Premiership in 2018, along with a State of Origin match on the stand-alone representative weekend and Test matches for the Jillaroos in the Pacific and New Zealand.
Hilder said there will also be a three day representative carnival in early June involving Queensland and NSW City and Country teams along with sides from the Affiliated States. This will lead into the selection of the NSW and Queensland sides. The NRL competition will be played in the lead up and during the NRL finals series, culminating on grand final day.
Hilder said these developments are a direct result of the success of the women’s World Cup and reflect the growth in interest in women’s rugby league. Now, she just wants to be involved in it all.