A RUPTURED medial ligament won’t stop Kylie Hilder from playing with the Sydney Roosters in the inaugural Holden NRL women’s competition to start this year.
Hilder, 42, signed with the Roosters on Monday. She damaged her knee playing for NSW Country during the Australian championships held in Southport last week. The injury kept her out of the final, where NSW Country defeated NSW City. Old Bar’s Holli Wheeler was also a member of the Country side.
Hilder had also been penciled into the NSW side for the State of Origin clash against Queensland at North Sydney Oval on June 22. However, the injury has ruled her out of contention.
“I'll be out for six weeks,’’ Hilder, who plays dummy half, explained.
She said there were initial fears she damaged her ACL and that would have been season-ending.
“It's been gut wrenching – especially missing out on playing for NSW,’’ Hilder said.
“But at least I’ll be right for the NRL at the end of the year.’’
Hilder said she’ll now concentrate on rehab and she is confident of returning to the field in the six week time frame.
“I’ll be spending plenty of time in the gym,'’ she said.
Four sides will play in the NRL competition. Hilder considered offers from St George and Sydney before settling on the Roosters. She’ll be required to train three nights a week in Sydney when the competition kicks off. Hilder said previously working in a training schedule that suits her young family would play a big role in her final decision.
“I’ll be in Sydney for six to eight weeks, depending on how the side goes,’’ she said.
Hilder added the Roosters have recruited strongly and expects them to be among the front runners. The Roosters will be coached by Adam Hartigan.
Hilder sustained the injury in the match before the final during the national championships.
She plays for CRL Newcastle in the NSW women’s premiership. After a slow start Newcastle has moved to fifth on the competition ladder on 12 points. Newcastle will meet seventh placed Canterbury at Belmore on Sunday.
However, Hilder has confirmed this will be her last year of playing rugby league.
Hilder initially retired last season but decided on making a comeback when news broke of the NRL competition. She is one of 40 elite players signed by the NRL.
Hilder expects Holli Wheeler to be picked up by one of the clubs. A backrower, Wheeler played solidly for Country last week. Clubs can look for players outside of the elite group from this week.
“I’m sure one of the clubs will sign her,’’ Hilder said.
(Wheeler has since been linked to St George).
The competition will culminate on NRL grand final day.