Wheeler Ready To Fire Against Queensland

Updated: June 21, 2018
NRL Womens Championships  180603_JO6 (180)

CRL Newcastle and Country Representative Holli Wheeler can’t wait to don the Blues jersey in what will be a milestone Women’s State of Origin match at North Sydney Oval tomorrow night.

Wheeler grew up in a family that taught her ‘Origin is the pinnacle of Rugby League’ and said she is honoured to be part of the first officially-named, stand-alone Women’s State of Origin spectacle.

“It’s the biggest sporting feat of my career and it’s something that I will cherish forever,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler admitted she is looking forward to facing-off against all the Maroons but is particularly excited to brush shoulders with their veteran players.

“For the last 17 years, they have been such a dominant force and there’s so many current Jillaroos that are there.

“You’ve got players like Ali Brigginshaw, who in my mind was the player of the tournament at the World Cup.

“You’ve got people like Steph Hancock, who’s been a pioneer of the sport for so many years; I’ve never played against her so that will be something to remember.”

Wheeler believes that the support Friday’s match has received is encouraging and demonstrates the popularity of the Women’s game, which will only continue to grow.

“It’s awesome; we’re walking down the street here in Sydney and people are coming up to us saying ‘Go New South Wales’ and ‘Bring it home girls!’”

“The girls game nowadays is growing and is going to go from strength to strength and people are on board with it; it’s really good to see and the amount of the support we’ve had is just fantastic.”

Wheeler believes expansions of the Women’s pathway such as Origin and the National Championships are already inspiring the next generation of female Rugby League players, particularly in Regional areas.

“You’ve got eight-year-olds coming up and hugging our New South Wales, Queensland and Australian players and saying ‘you’re my idol’; that’s pretty amazing.

“They don’t want to be netball players or hockey players; they want to be the next Steph Hancock or Ruan Sims.

“Some of these older players, they didn’t have those role models when they were younger, they had the boys so I think they’re just inspiring this next generation.

“Younger girls are saying ‘I want to play for New South Wales, I want to play for Australia’ and there’s pathways there for them to do it now, so it’s a realistic goal for them to come through.”

Wheeler says having three of her CRL Newcastle team mates – Isabelle Kelly, Bec Young and Hannah Southwell also representing NSW will make her Origin debut even more memorable.

“To have four of us lining up against Queensland is pretty special so I’m definitely looking forward to sharing that with those girls.”

The NSW Blues v Queensland Maroons Women’s State of Origin will be held at North Sydney Oval on Friday, 22nd June; with the match kicking-off at 7:30pm.