Holli Wheeler's big week in rugby league

Holli Wheeler has been named in the NSW side to meet Queensland on June 22.
Holli Wheeler has been named in the NSW side to meet Queensland on June 22.

IT’S been some week for rugby league player Holli Wheeler from Old Bar – selection in the NSW team to meet Queensland in the State of Origin clash and an offer to play with St George in the inaugural NRL competition later this year.

Wheeler, 28, has been named on the bench for the Blues for the clash against Queensland at North Sydney Oval on June 22.

“It’s massive – I’m still in shock,’’ she said just hours after she learnt of her selection.

The team will go into camp next week to prepare for the match.

“I’m really looking forward to that,’’ Wheeler said.

“I just want to get into camp and learn from the best to make myself the best player I can.’’

She played strongly for championship winning NSW Country side at the national titles held at Southport this month to put herself in line for the State squad.

“That was my goal – to play consistently this year and make the Country side,’’ she said.

“From there anything else was a bonus.’’

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She was a member of the Country team that played City in the inaugural clash last year. Wheeler plays for CRL Newcastle in the NSW Women’s Premiership. A backrower, she’s not sure how much game time she’ll get.

“I've spoken to the coach (Ben Cross) and he said I may have to slot into different roles and play in the back row or in the middle. I don’t care – just as long as I’m out there,’’ she said.

The two NSW sides – City and Country played off in the final of the nationals and while they have a few injury concerns Wheeler believes this should entitle the Blues to favouritism for the SOO encounter. Queensland dominated for 17 years, however, NSW has won the last two series.

“There’s just so much depth in NSW now,’’ Wheeler explained.

“They've put a lot of pathways in place to get it this way. But this is going to be a great game, we know the Queenslanders will be tough.’’

Four sides will contest the NRL women’s competition to be run in conjunction with the NRL finals. Wheeler has been contacted by St George and hopes the formalities will soon be settled. Wheeler will be required to train in Sydney at least three times a week for the duration of the competition but this doesn’t faze her.

“It’s not a long competition – only four weeks or so, I’ll talk to my boss and work out the days I’ll need off,’’ she said.

“I’ll spend a bit of time on the road, but I’m not worried about that.’’

Wheeler was a regular member of NSW and Australian Country women’s hockey sides before deciding to concentrate on rugby league last year.