FORM'S a fickle thing, representative rugby league player Holli Wheeler quickly acknowledges.
A back rower, Wheeler enjoyed a breakout 2018, representing Australia in a one-off test against New Zealand, while she was also a member of the winning NSW team in the inaugural women's State of Origin match against Queensland. She was also named St George's player of the year after the NRL women's premiership.
However, Wheeler, formerly from Old Bar but as of February a Newcastle resident, has been disappointed with her form for much of 2019.
"I haven't been happy with the way I'm playing,'' she said as she prepares to turn out for NSW tonight in the origin clash against Queensland at North Sydney Oval.
"I'm not sure if I was putting too much pressure on myself, but I just wasn't happy.''
Wheeler was named in the NSW Country team to play in the Australian Championships earlier this month, the side heavily defeated by NSW City in the final. Selectors obviously thought she was playing okay, as Wheeler retained her place on the bench for the Blues.
Wheeler thinks her footy has improved as the rep season unfolded. Now she's aiming for a big performance against the Queenslanders.
The NSW squad, with seven newcomers from last season, have been in camp all this week and according to Wheeler, the preparation under coach Andy Patmore has been close to perfect. She can't wait for the kick off.
As was the case with 2018, Wheeler has no idea how much time she'll spend on the field.
"I'd love to play 59 minutes,'' she smiled. (The match will have a 60 minute duration).
"But I'll take one minute. I just can't wait to get onto the field, I cherish being part of this team and I'm really excited.''
NSW won last year's game 16-10.
"That was the fastest and most brutal encounter I've played in,'' Wheeler said.
She expects more of the same tonight and is confident she's both mentally and physically ready.
"I tell myself not to be comfortable. I need to be comfortable not being comfortable,'' she explained.
Forster-Tuncurry's Kylie Hilder will play nine for the Blues after missing last season's match due to a knee injury. Hilder and Wheeler are both members of the CRL Newcastle side in the NSW Women's Premiership and Hilder had an influential role in Wheeler's decision to switch from hockey to league two years ago.
"It's great to have Kylie in camp with us,'' Wheeler said.
"She's played a lot of sport and knows when it's time to joke around and when it's time to get serious.''
Wheeler will again link with St George for the second NRL Women's Premiership this year. Saints struggled last winter, but Wheeler said they've bulked up for 2019 with some significant signings. She said there's more on the way.
The club announced this week that NSW Origin captain Kezie Apps has re-signed for 2019, in a further boost.
Meanwhile the one-off test against New Zealand at season's end is another goal for Wheeler. She made her international debut in last year's game in Auckland.
"Playing for Australia last year was a dream come true,'' she said.
"I'd love to be part of it again.''
Playing for the Jillaroos in the World Cup in England in 2021 looms on the horizon.
"If my body stands up and my form warrants selection ... well, that's something to aim for,'' she said.