Recently retired Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Origin star Kylie Hilder is looking forward to her next challenge after being appointed coach of the Sydney Roosters Women’s Nines side for next year’s tournament in Perth.
The 43-year-old made history in 2019 when NSW Women’s Origin coach Andrew Patmore selected her to play hooker after missing out on selection last year due to injury.
The NSWRL Women’s Participation Officer has already had a taste of coaching after working as an assistant to former NRL coach Rick Stone for the Sydney Roosters for the NRLW season.
Hilder said she would work closely with the coaching staff for the Roosters men’s team for the Nines which includes former NRL players Matt King and Nathan Cayless.
“We’re all going to do it as joint venture where I’ll be able to bounce some ideas off them and help them with the men’s and they’ll be helping me with the women’s as well,” Hilder said.
“I’m very excited, obviously, it’s a great honour to be asked to even to do it.
“With the Nines, it’s such a fun concept and it’ll be my first coaching project on my own.
“I think it’s the perfect stepping stone and I’m looking forward to it.
“NSWRL have been very supportive in giving me time to take on this new direction.”
Despite taking on the new role, Hilder said she didn’t have any aspirations yet to coach the Roosters NRLW side in 2020.
“I feel more comfortable coaching in the Nines format, I won’t be taking on the NRLW gig,” Hilder said.
“I still think I’ve got a lot to learn in the game before I feel ready within myself to take on a role like that so I’ll just do the Nines first and see how I go.
“Just because you play the game it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a good coach either.
“It’s not just the coaching of rugby league it’s also understanding the role of the coach, so I’m wanting to learn as much as I possibly can.
“I know a lot of the players that are in the game at the moment so that helps in a way with coaching but it can also be a deterrent because you still have that close relationship with them but it’s about finding that balance.
“We don’t have too many female coaches around but the game is evolving and the more we can get women involved, not just coaching but as trainers and things like that, the better it will be.”
The mother of two first represented NSW in Rugby League ten years ago and decided to retire at the end of this season but not before adding two impressive milestones to her extensive career.
“I couldn’t have thought of a better way to sign off after winning the NSWRL Harvey Norman Women’s Premiership competition with the CRL Newcastle side,” she said.
“It was a big year for me, especially when I had said I wasn’t going to be playing football at all.
“Then to end up being selected in the NSW Origin side and winning the Harvey Norman Premiership with the players that had been working hard for two years to get to there was a pretty fitting finish.
“I’m getting older and the body was telling me it was time as well, so it wasn’t too hard.
“Still being able to be involved with all the girls in a coaching capacity makes it a lot easier too.”
The Roosters side will come together two weeks before the start of the Nines tournament, which will run from 14-15 February next year and Hilder was looking forward to the Roosters making amends after a disappointing campaign in the NRLW.
“We’re still working on getting the squad together but I’m looking at getting some fast, fit players because Nines is such a different game to 13-aside,” she said.
“We can contact anyone, it’s open for all but I still want to keep the nucleus of the team we had for the NRLW.
“Yes, it wasn’t the best season in the NRLW but the Nines is whole new game.
“It’s all about making it a big, fun three days – that’s what I’ve been telling the players I’m speaking with already - that we’re going there to play and rediscover a love of footy.
“A lot of girls walked away disappointed after the NRLW season, so I think just we just need to start from scratch and rebuild at the Roosters.”