POPULAR Country Rugby League (CRL) female participation officer Kylie Hilder has etched her name in the history books after being selected to represent the game as a marquee player in 2018.
The NRL announced on Thursday the inaugural 40 elite participants based in Australia.
Hilder, the wife of newly-appointed Muswellbrook Rams first grade coach Troy Hilder, will head into camp in Sydney this weekend to continue preparations for the domestic and international season ahead.
She’ll be joined in the squad by another local girl Caitlin Moran, who made her mark in the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.
The former Muswellbrook Public School student kicked an important field goal in Australia’s 23-16 victory over New Zealand.
NRL Women’s Elite Program senior manager Tiffany Slater said the list of elite players had a huge opportunity to continue to shape the next chapter of the code for females.
“Women’s rugby league has come a long way in a relatively short amount of time and collectively, we have a long way to go,” she explained.
“'I congratulate and commend the first 40 players on their selection in the elite squad for 2018 and in doing so, securing their position at the top of their game.
“These women will not only have the opportunity to play as part of our Origin and Test matches, but they will be a part of state competitions, the National Championship and a Premiership competition later this year.”
NRL Elite Program manager Brad Donald said it was a tough decision to arrive at the top 40 players and confirmed that the goal was to see the number of elite players rise in the future.
“The reality is, there are more than 40 players throughout Australia and many more in New Zealand and throughout the Pacific Islands that are playing fantastic rugby league – up to national and international standard,” he added.
“The enthusiasm, commitment and positive attitude of every single player attending the women’s training camp on the Gold Coast last month, as well as many more women playing in local league competitions, fills me with great confidence that this will be a fantastic year for women’s rugby league, with a big future ahead.”