Jillaroos star warming to new Dragons role

NEW ROLE: NSW and Australian Test star Kezie Apps has begun an ambassadorial role with Dragons. Picture: Georgia Matts
NEW ROLE: NSW and Australian Test star Kezie Apps has begun an ambassadorial role with Dragons. Picture: Georgia Matts

JILLAROOS star Kezie Apps has never stopped to do the math, but the mind boggles at the pure number of kilometres she’s clocked pursuing her rugby league dream – almost all of them with mum Dawn by her side in a little Toyota Corolla that is surely the hardest working vehicle in the game.

It started four years ago with a regular 752km round trip from her home-town of Bega to play for Helensburgh in the 2014 Illawarra Women’s League. Those trips became even more frequent, and further afield, as she rose through the NSW and Australia ranks, meaning that trusty Corolla spent more time on the road.

“I really should do [the math]. I know mum bought a new car when I started footy and now it’s got 110,000 k’s on it,” Apps said.

“She still won’t let me go by myself in case of injury and to share the drive as well. It’s the fourth year now and doesn’t faze anymore, I just jump in the car and go. It’s part of my routine now.”

Her new role as a club ambassador for the Dragons means she’ll spend even more time on the road as she continues her comeback from a broken tibia suffered in November’s Auckland Nines.

“It’s really exciting, it’s an opportunity I never thought I would have but I took it with both hands and it’s been really good working with the Dragons,” Apps said.

“I haven’t really done too much because of my injury but it’s been a blessing in disguise really. After such a big year last year I probably needed a break and I’ve had that now and I’m ready to get back into it.”

Widely regarded as the best player int he women’s game, Apps remains on track to return in time for the women’s State of Origin clash at WIN Stadium on July 22 with a World Cup also looming at the end of the 2017 season.

“I’m only two weeks out of the moon boot so I’m just getting it moving again,” she said.

“My first aim was to be back for the Test in May but I’ll only be 10 weeks post-surgery so that was out of the question. That was disappointing about but now my focus is on that women’s Origin game in July and hopefully I’m peaking by the end of the year.”

The World Cup will no doubt make a compelling case for the introduction of an NRL women’s league, something NRL chief executive Todd Greenberg has penciled in for 2019.

The runaway success of the AFLW this year has seen a push for it be introduced sooner but Apps supported a pragmatic approach as the game continues strengthen junior pathways.

“The plan was working towards 2019 and I’ll think they’ll stick with that,” Apps said.

“Obviously with the success of the AFLW there’s a push maybe get one sooner but I understand what their motives are in trying to build the game through the younger girls and making sure we have that big player pool.

“We do need to build that depth so it is a better competition when they do eventually showcase it. I want to play at least one season in an NRL competition so hopefully it’s not too far off.”