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Kelly is building in confidence and ready to play

Her throat has returned to normal and her croaky voice has disappeared but for Harvey Norman NSW Sky Blues centre Isabelle Kelly the trauma of it all still lingers a little.

The 26-year-old has vivid memories of Thursday night, 1 June, at CommBank Stadium where her Origin Game One lasted just 31 minutes.

A collision with Queensland winger Julia Robinson left her with a serious throat injury, where she was gasping for breath.

“I’ve obviously had my fair share of injuries like every player has, but that was more traumatic for me as it kind of showed me the bigger picture outside of football as well,” Kelly told

“And that is that health is so important … yes, it was distressing, scary on the night, but everyone was so helpful. I felt so well-supported from my team, my family – I knew everyone was behind me.”

Despite spending two days in Westmead Hospital’s ICU (intensive care unit) so the swelling around her throat could subside, it was that exterior support that went a long way to helping Kelly heal.

However, there is some mental hurdles she has not fully traversed although she has been cleared by specialists to play and has not missed any of the Sky Blues training sessions in Townsville ahead of Game Two on Thursday night (22 June).

“It probably wasn’t until about four days after the incident that I realised how it had affected me more mentally than possibly physically.

“But I was really lucky in that sense as pre-season for (Sydney) Roosters (NRLW team) had started so for me that was a massive safe place for me mentally.

“I could go back to football and start training at a safe level with all the Roosters medical staff around me.

“They made sure everything I did was a slow progress to me building my confidence back … I’m still getting it back… but I was in an environment where I felt safe on the field.

“I had Roosters staff and players to talk to, then the NSWRL (Origin) staff and teammates, and obviously my friends to talk to.

“So as hard as it was, I never felt alone. I always felt well-supported in my situation.

“Now all I need to do is my job on Thursday night and that’s what I want to do.”

Robinson misses Game Two through suspension for dangerous contact. But the Queensland winger reached out to Kelly. The NSW star – playing her 10th game for the Sky Blues this week – holds no ill-feelings.

“It’s a very raw one for me because Robbo and I are quite good friends – she’s been my winger before (Jillaroos)… she is one of the most beautiful people.

“It’s just one of those freak accidents that can happen in Rugby League.

“She did send me flowers and reached out to me. It will never hurt our relationship because I know she didn’t intentionally go in there to hurt me.

“Obviously we have to look after the safety of our players. I feel bad she’s missing a State of Origin game but at the same time actions have consequences.

“No hard feelings whatsoever and I know when we get back to being on the same team one day, things will be exactly how they were between us.”

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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