Anyone about to tackle the Western Women's Rugby League premiership could do worse than look at the rise of Kaitlyn Phillips for a bit of motivation.
The returning Vipers gun was a stand-out in the inaugural WWRL competition just two years ago and has since linked with Mounties in the Harvey Norman NSWRL women's competition, which wrapped up a month ago.
Mounties made it to the grand final, ultimately losing to Newcastle, but, for Phillips, going from her first game of that WWRL season in 2017 at Blayney to playing alongside the best women in Australia at ANZ Stadium is something she's not likely to forget in a hurry.
The backrower's rise continues on a meteoric trajectory this weekend, too, when Phillips travels to Sydney to train with the Prime Minister's XIII squad. She'll learn if she's made the side to tour Fiji on Sunday.
And the key to such an incredible accession through the ranks?
"Definitely hard work," Phillips said.
Every side seems to have a decent talent pool ... which is incredible when you look at where we started.Vipers recruit Kaitlyn Phillips
"If you work for it you'll get there. You might miss out on one thing but there's a chance you'll make the next ... you just have to keep working hard. I just kept going."
Phillips is one of a host of big name players set to make a return for this year's WWRL premiership, which goes from strength to strength on a few fronts in 2019.
Alongside Phillips for the Vipers, Kandy Kennedy and Tilly Powyer are expected to line-up for the Panorama side and Rhi Sutherland is tipped to play for the Goannas. All four girls played in the NSWRL women's competition this season.
And, on top of the under 18s and under 15s competitions run last season, the WWRL will also have an under 13s title race this year.
"It's come a long way, the competition. Obviously Group 10 has split and there's still plenty of good players in each side," Phillips said looking at the WWRL's evolution.
The 2019 competition will kick-off on Saturday, October 12.
"Every side seems to have a decent talent pool but the biggest thing is the juniors, there's talent in the 18s and 15s and there's now 13s too, which is incredible when you look at where we started," Phillips said before adding she hopes to take on a mentor role at the Vipers in 2019.
"I think I'll try and do a bit, especially with some of the younger girls in the sides. I'm just glad I get to play this time."
Phillips Vipers will be joined by Panorama, Mudgee, Woodbridge Cup, Castlereagh League and defending opens champions Goannas in next month's competition.
The season will mark Vipers' return to the top grade and Phillips said simply having a side was a win - although being more than competitive will be the likely goal for a gun group of senior girls and a seriously talented crop of under 18s coming through the grades.
A draw for the new WWRL season is still to be finalised, but all six clubs will field all four grades in a first for the game in the Rams region.
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