Hilder Primed for Origin

Updated: June 21, 2019

Our very own Women’s Participation Officer Kylie Hilder will run out as hooker for the NSW Origin team tonight and after missing out last year, she can’t wait for the match-up.

After playing for New South Wales Country, New South Wales Blues, the Jillaroos and representing Australia in four Touch Football World Cups, Hilder was thrilled with her selection in this year’s Origin side.

“Representing NSW is a little bit of dream come true for me probably in the last couple of years,” Hilder said.

“I did represent NSW ten years ago, but it definitely wasn’t the same as representing it now, especially with the group of girls I’m getting to do it with.

“No one really cared or knew when the game was on ten years ago, whereas now the media attention that we’re getting in unbelievable and the game is only getting bigger and bigger.

“To say that I got to play in the second State of Origin as such close to the end of my career is pretty exciting.”

CRL Newcastle representative Hilder believes her success this year comes down to stepping away from representative football, which has allowed her to thrive.

“Taking myself away from that elite side of it at the beginning of the year when I retired from football took away that expectation of making those representative sides.

“I wasn’t expecting to be here and I’ve just been taking it week by week, getting out, playing footy, and enjoying it and I think that’s made a big difference.”

The new-look NSW side contains nine Country representatives that Hilder played alongside in the Women’s National Championships which makes her excited for the future of regionally-based female players.

“Especially because it’s my role; girls in the country can see now there is a clear pathway.

“Last year, no one had heard of Hannah Southwell and she came through our system and played for NSW and Australia and now she’s got herself a starting spot.

“It’s the same with Takilele Katoa, if we hadn’t had the CRL Women’s Country Championships this year she would still be out in the Riverina area and no one would know who she is.

“That name will be around for a long time, this is the just the start for her.

“Hopefully as the years go on we get to unearth more and more of these talented girls from regional areas.”

For the first time, a Women’s Under-18’s Origin match will be played before the main game at North Sydney Oval and Hilder anticipates the matches will put a welcome spotlight on the Women’s game.

“We have the Under-18’s playing before us as well, which brings that extra vibe and attention, so I can only imagine it’s going to be bigger and better.

“I think last year a lot of people were a bit hesitant about going out and watching it, not really knowing what it was about.

“Now that they realise the quality and enormity of it I think the crowd will be huge.

“It will be extra special having my husband and two children there, they’re massive supporters and I keep saying I couldn’t do any of this without the support of my husband.

“To have them there at the end of the game and know they’re really proud of me means a lot.”

The Women’s Under-18’s State of Origin will kick-off at 5:45pm tonight and will be live streamed on NRL.com, while the Women’s match will kick-off at 7:45pm and will be televised on Channel 9 and Fox League from North Sydney Oval.