Bega rugby league player Kezie Apps has been named NSW’s best during the prestigious Brad Fitler Medal ceremony.
It confirmed her status as the most damaging forward in the women’s game and was the cherry on top of what’s been an incredible season from the Bega product who makes a 10-hour return trip from her home on the far South Coast to play each week for Helensburgh in the Illawarra League.
“Words can’t really describe the feeling,” Apps said.
“It’s definitely a great achievement and I feel really honoured and privileged that I was able to pick up the award. It's still sinking in for me really but I am very proud.
“It definitely makes all the time in the car worth it. Still now when I think back about when I started, going into it all new and not knowing what to expect it really blows me away.
“No way in the world I have thought all this would be happening.”
It was just reward for Apps who was named best on ground following the women’s State of Origin clash in July in which NSW broke Queensland’s astonishing 17-year stranglehold on interstate supremacy with a gritty 8-4 win at Cbus Super Stadium.
It was something the NSW Rugby League was keen to recognise with all members of the Blues team – which included former Helensburgh stars Sam Bremner, Maddie Studdon, Allana Ferguson and Ruan Sims – given commemorative rings to mark their achievement.
“I’ve got it on right now, I can’t stop staring at it,” Apps said.
“For [NSWRL CEO] Dave Trodden to organise the rings for us was amazing and the chance to get up on stage and get announced for it one by one was a very special moment.”
Apps was also named player of the match in Helensburgh’s 24-10 win over Corrimal in the Women in Defence League grand final two weeks ago and played for St George Illawarra in the ground-breaking Nines clash with Cronulla last month.
The Rugby League World Cup organising committee also announced on Tuesday that the women’s World Cup will be held concurrently with the men’s event in November 2017, with the respective finals to be played as double-header
It’s part of the growing momentum that’s prompted NRL CEO Todd Greenberg’s desire to establish a women’s national league by 2021. Having been part of the success of the Dragons v Sharks derby, Apps is hopeful that can be fast-tracked.
“It’s been a big season and a lots happened in the last 12 months and it’s exciting to see in just the next couple of years where it’s going to go.,” Apps said.
“We had the game with Cronulla this year and hopefully we get a couple more games next year and hopefully it can fast track it by 2018 maybe.
“It’s very exciting the direction it’s heading and hopefully I’m still around to experience all that as well.”