Kylie Hilder (left) and Isabelle Kelly (right) have both been named in the NSW Country Womens squad alongside six of their Newcastle teammates. Image via CRL.

In-form CRL Newcastle superstars Simone Smith and Kylie Hilder have been named as part of the NSW Country Women’s 22-player representative squad alongside six other Novocastrian-based stars.

Smith and Hilder were named in the Women’s Rugby League team of the week for their efforts in their team’s 16-4 victory over Cronulla in the NSW Women’s Premiership, and have now scored even more honours for their red-hot form.

Simone Smith has been in scintillating form since return from injury, and her efforts with CRL Newcastle have earned her a representative call-up ahead of the National Championships.

The CRL Newcastle spine players will be joined by a host of other international superstars, including Melanie Howard, Isabelle Kelly, Bobbi Law, Hannah Southwell, Holli Wheeler, and Bec Young.

The representative side, which will begin training ahead of the tournament, is set to contest the Women’s National Championships in Burleigh later this month. The competition will run for four days from May 30, and will include six rep teams vying for the glory of the best region in Australia.

NSW will be represented by Country and City teams, as well Queensland. The Australian Defence Force, and the Combined Affiliated States sides round out the four-day carnival of elite women’s football.

NSW Country were victorious in last year’s National Championships, beating back a major challenge from their state rivals City in a 16-12 thriller at Owen Park on the Gold Coast. A try in the corner from Newcastle star Ngalika Barker sealed the deal for the Country side in the 2018 contest.

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Veteran rake Kylie Hilder is again set to pull on the yellow and brown of NSW Country.

Country Rugby League chief executive Terry Quinn said at the team announcement that he believes the championships are a “fantastic opportunity for players from regional New South Wales to test themselves against the best.”

“We’re extremely proud to be a part of the inaugural Women’s National Championship and we’re eager to see an exciting mix of Regional, Origin and Jillaroos representatives from Country NSW compete together on a national stage,” he said.

“There have been some great announcements made for the women’s game in recent times and we fully support the continual development of pathways for female players. I want to wish our team the best of luck in the National Championships defending their title and wish them all the best in achieving NRLW, New South Wales and the Jillaroos honours in the future.”

Holli Wheeler returns for NSW Country after playing a role in the 16-12 victory over state rivals City last year.

NSW COUNTRY TEAM LIST: Kezie Apps (Illawarra South Coast Dragons), Keeley Davis (Illawarra South Coast Dragons), Kirra Dibb (Central Coast Roosters), Vanessa Foliaki (Western), Emma Hickey (Riverina Bulls), Kylie Hilder (CRL Newcastle), Rikeya Horne (Illawarra), Melanie Howard (CRL Newcastle), Ellie Johnston (North Coast Bulldogs), Takilele Katoa (Riverina Bulls), Isabelle Kelly (CRL Newcastle), Bobbi Law (CRL Newcastle), Shellie Long (North Coast Bulldogs), Kaitlyn Phillips (Western), Ruan Sims (Illawarra), Simone Smith (CRL Newcastle), Hannah Southwell (CRL Newcastle), Tess Staines (Riverina Bulls), Gabrielle Suckling (Riverina Bulls), Shakiah Tungai (Illawarra), Holli Wheeler (CRL Newcastle), Bec Young (CRL Newcastle); coach Matt Parish.