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Kelly Intent on Adding NRLW Trophy to Illustrious Cabinet

Despite taking out some of the most prestigious awards in Rugby League, an NRLW Premiership has eluded Isabelle Kelly - but the superstar centre is intent on making sure the Roosters bring home the cup this coming season. 

Following a season at the St George Illawarra Dragons, Kelly has returned home in the Red, White and Blue and is determined on bringing the title to Bondi for the first time - especially after reaching two of the last three Grand Finals. 

A multiple World Cup and State of Origin winner, the 2021 NSW Blues Player of the Year is confident in this year's squad doing exactly that under John Strange. 

“I’m really excited. I’ve been lucky enough to be playing with the Central Coast Roosters and I’ve really enjoyed my time there over the last few years,” Kelly said.

“But being back here, it feels like home, and I’m really excited with the squad we’ve got. I’ve had a really great career of ticking boxes with World Cups and Origins but I’ve never been able to get the NRLW.

“I honestly think we’ve got the team this year. John Strange is an awesome coach, we’ve got Kylie Hilder too and Sharpie (Assistant Coach Matt Sharp) and I think they’re going to lead us in the correct direction.

Kelly: "I Can't Wait to See What We Can Do"

“He’s (Strange) probably one of the biggest reasons why I’m back here because he’s an awesome coach.

“I’ve seen my game improve dramatically with him and especially with some of the girls out there. He’s a great coach and I can’t wait to see what he can do with us girls.”

While the thought of lifting the trophy at season's end is certainly the priority for 2021, Kelly's excitement stems from the fact that she will be witnessing a number of her teammates achieve their dream of an NRLW debut through the year.

The strength of the Women's Pathways System at the Roosters will be key to not only the future success of the Club but of the game, according to the Central Coast Captain. 

“It’s so important," she stated.

“On the Central Coast we’ve never been able to have those pathways with the open Women’s team, so it’s really good to have those pathways that lead into the NRLW.

“I think you’ll see this year with some of the girls that we’ve got here from the Central Coast, they’re really good players and ready to take the next step.

“Seeing the expansion and all the young girls coming through and all the new players that get to have an opportunity to play NRLW, I’m excited for them. I know that they’d be really excited, but it just goes to show that the game is going in the right direction and I can’t wait to see what it is in a few years.

Being back here, it feels like home, and I’m really excited with the squad we’ve got.

Isabelle Kelly Rooster #4

“A big key point that I’ve taken out of it is that little boys now come up to us girls and want to get our autograph and get to know us.

“It just goes to show that when we’re on the field before the men that they’re there to see us just as much as they are with them.”

One of the motivating factors for a return to Moore Park was reuniting with close friends and representative teammates in the form of Corban Baxter, Jess Sergis and Hannah Southwell.

Alongside her more experienced teammates, Kelly also finds herself in a position of seniority - and she is ready to lead and stand up when counted upon ahead of a massive year for the Women's Game.

“It’s great, especially because it’s such a big year, being together at the start of the year is unreal,” she said.

Roosters Pathways in Motion

“I’m lucky enough that I’m best mates with Corby (Baxter) so just being back with her is a great thing.

“I think I’ve been playing a while now so I just kind of fall into that (leadership role). As a new team and new dynamic, it’s fresh for me but I’ll keep doing what I’m doing. I won’t change.

“I want to keep growing my game and I’m open to learning and just staying healthy. Strangey is the coach to do that, but it wouldn’t hurt to get an NRLW Premiership and get an Origin appearance and go to the World Cup at the end of the year.

“I want to stay injury-free and do what I need to do that. I can’t wait to see what we can do on the park.

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour 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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