While all eyes are currently on the men at the Rugby League World Cup, the best female rugby league players in the country are preparing for their tilt at a World Cup title.
Kezie Apps, a South Coast product, is part of the 24-woman Australian squad, alongside Gerringong’s Ruan Sims, that will kick of its title defence against the Cook Islands on Thursday, November 16.
Every group match and both semi finals will be played at Shark Park in Cronulla, with the Grand Final a double-header with the Men’s final in Brisbane.
Australia will also play England and Canada during the group stage of the tournament.
Apps told the media on Wednesday she was over the moon to be selected for the team.
“To get that final phone call to say that I’d made the final 24 was really exciting, and to be here is pretty surreal,” she said.
This will be Apps’ first world cup appearance, as she has only been in the sport for four years.
“Four years ago when I saw that the girls had won the World Cup, that was my inspiration to get into Rugby League,” Apps said.
“To be in the position now to hopefully hold up that World Cup is insane.”
Part of the appeal of the World Cup is the varying nations that will contest the tournament.
“I’m really looking forward to playing someone different,” Apps said.
“That’s what I’m really excited about for this World Cup, to play someone other than New Zealand.”
Due to the abbreviated nature of the Tournament, the girls will play three games in a seven day period, with the possibility of a fourth four days later if they were to qualify for the semi finals.
Despite this heavy workload, Apps believes the team should have no issues with their fitness.
“Playing that many games in that short a time is going to be pretty hard,” she said.
“As long as we do everything right, we’ve got the right coaching staff and all the right processes in place to make us the best we can be for those games.”
The World Cup is the result of a year of hard work for Apps, who had to rehabilitate a broken leg earlier this year.
Despite this, Apps believes she’ll be fit and raring to go when the games start.
“I worked really hard to be fit for Origin, and that’s something that I did, so I knew at that stage I could definitely be a lot fitter and stronger by the World Cup,” she said.
“I won’t let it stop me; I’m going to try my hardest.”
Now that her goal of playing in a World Cup has been achieved, Apps knows what she wants from the tournament.
“To be in a double header with the men on December 2, that would be something I’d never forget,” she said.